Tobacco use and related factors among pre-university students in a college in Bangalore, India.Natl Med J India 2009 Nov-Dec; 22(6):294-7NM
Tobacco use imposes a huge burden of disease in India. Most studies on the use of tobacco among students in India have focused on secondary school students with a few studies investigating younger children and university students. We aimed to ascertain tobacco use among pre-university college students in Bangalore.
A cross-sectional study was conducted among 300 students of a purposively selected boys-only, pre-university college in Bangalore. All the students from 4 of 10 randomly selected classes were enrolled in the study. An anonymous self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on the extent and pattern of tobacco consumption, factors associated with use/non-use of tobacco products, and awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco use.
The prevalence of 'ever use' of tobacco was 15.7% (95% CI: 11.7-20.3) of which 5.3% (95% CI: 3.1-8.7) were current users of tobacco. The mean (SD) age of initiation of tobacco use was 14.7 (2.05) years; 78.3% of users were aware that tobacco was harmful. The most common reasons by ever users to start using tobacco included peer pressure, having fun/enjoyment, and curiosity. 'Never users' abstained from usage because of awareness of the negative health implications of tobacco use, a dislike for tobacco products, and the negative social implications of tobacco use.
Interventions need to be designed to reduce the use of tobacco among students. Such Interventions should raise awareness on the social and economic implications of the use of tobacco, equip students to overcome peer influence and provide counselling to quit using tobacco.