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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 47  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 43-52

Call centre employees and tobacco dependence: Making a difference

Department of Preventive Oncology, 3rd Floor, Service Block, Tata Memorial Hospital, E. Borges Marg, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
G A Mishra
Department of Preventive Oncology, 3rd Floor, Service Block, Tata Memorial Hospital, E. Borges Marg, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: The study was supported by the Intramural funding grants of the Tata Memorial Hospital, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.63860

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Context : India is known as the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) capital of the world. Safeguarding health of millions of youngsters employed in this new growing economy is an occupational health challenge. Aims : This study was initiated in June 2007 in India with the objectives to assess the prevalence of tobacco use and study the factors responsible for initiating and continuing its use. The main aim, however, was to assess the effect of different tobacco cessation intervention strategies, thus identifying effective methods to assist these employees to quit tobacco. Materials and Methods : This is a 4-arm cluster randomized trial of 18 months duration among 646 BPO employees, working in 4 different BPO units. The employees were invited to participate in interviews following which tobacco users of each BPO were offered specific tobacco cessation interventions to assist them to quit tobacco use. Results : The prevalence of tobacco dependence is 41%, mainly cigarette smoking. The tobacco quit rate is similar (nearly 20%) in the 3 intervention arms. Significantly higher reduction in tobacco consumption of 45% is seen in Arm 4 with the use of pharmacotherapy. BPO employees change jobs frequently, hence follow-up remains a major challenge. Conclusion : Inaccessibility of pharmacotherapy in the developing countries should not deter tobacco cessation efforts as good tobacco quit rates can be achieved with health education and behavioral therapy. Tobacco cessation should be an integral activity in all BPOs, so that the employees receive this service continuously and millions of our youths are protected from the hazards of tobacco.


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