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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 47  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 14-18

Study on tobacco use and awareness among marginalized children

Cancer Patient Aid Association, Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
S Raval
Cancer Patient Aid Association, Mumbai
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.63867

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Background : The current study entailed a survey of children from the lower socioeconomic strata of rural and urban regions of the states of Maharashtra and Assam who are vulnerable to tobacco usage. More than 1700 children were checked for precancerous lesions and 1004 were surveyed for tobacco habits and awareness. Aims: The objective of the survey was to determine and report on all the variant factors affecting the use of tobacco among the underprivileged children population. The aim of the clinical check-up was to detect precancerous lesions in the tobacco-using children at an early treatable stage. Materials and Methods : Awareness lectures and ENT camps were conducted at 12 organizations/community centers. A cross-section of children were interviewed to understand tobacco use among them. All the children were screened for precancerous lesions. Children with suspicious oral lesions were sent for further evaluation at a nearby diagnostic cancer facility. The survey was conducted by trained social workers. Results : The percentage of tobacco users in urban Mumbai was quite low at 4.8% compared with rural Kasara (36%) and Assam (76%); and 74.6% of the children were aware that tobacco use was dangerous and harmful to health. The average age of initiation was 9 years. Out of the 1004 children surveyed, 253 were tobacco users and 79% were males. Of the 1700 children screened, 23.5% presented with precancerous oral lesions. Conclusion : This study addresses the tobacco habits of a typical sample of marginalized children in India and the need for effective interventions aiming at reducing the burden of tobacco-related cancers by controlling at the point of initiation.


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