Potential Risk Factors of Smokeless Tobacco Consumption Among Adolescents in South India

Muralidhar Kulkarni, Veena Veena Kamath, Asha Asha Kamath , Ilze Bogdanovica, Sarah Lewis, Manpreet Bains, Jo Cranwell , Andrew Fogarty , Monika Arora, Gaurang P. Nazar, Kirthinath Ballal, Ashwath K Naik, Rohith Bhagawath, John Britton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Although most of the disease burden internationally is due to tobacco smoking, smokeless tobacco (SLT) use contributed to an
estimated 76 000 deaths in 2017. We have studied the potential risk factors for SLT use among adolescents in South India.

Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey of all students in grades 6–8 in schools in the Udupi district of Karnataka State ascertained SLT
use status and potential determinants of SLT uptake. Ever SLT use was defined as any reported consumption of any SLT products, currently or
at any time in the past. Independent effects on ever SLT use status were estimated using multiple logistic regression.

Results: Of 46 706 students from 914 participating schools, 39 282 (84.1%) provided questionnaire responses sufficiently complete for analysis.
Ever SLT use was reported by 775 (2.0%) participants and in a mutually adjusted model was significantly related to age, male sex, family use, or
friend’s use of SLT, low socioeconomic status, high rebelliousness, and low self-esteem. After controlling for these effects, the odds of ever-SLT
use were significantly higher among students who had least awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco use (odds ratio 3.7, 95% confidence
interval [2.9, 4.7]) and significantly lower among those not exposed to tobacco advertising (odds ratio 0.7, 95% confidence interval [0.5, 0.8]).

Conclusions: The prevalence of SLT use among children in Karnataka is relatively low when compared with other studies in India. The significant
potential risk factors of SLT use include low awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco and tobacco control policies and exposure to tobacco
advertising.

Implications: The prevalence of SLT use among school going adolescents in South India is relatively low. The potential risk factors for SLT use
among adolescents in southern India are similar to those for smoked tobacco. It includes age, male gender, family or friend’s use of SLT, low
socioeconomic status, high rebelliousness, low self-esteem, exposure to tobacco advertisement and least awareness about the harmful effects
of tobacco and of tobacco control policies. The present study lays emphasis regarding creating awareness about tobacco harms and control
policies for further reducing tobacco use among adolescents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1104–1109
JournalNicotine & Tobacco Research
Volume24
Issue number7
Early online date9 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2022

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