Tobacco Use by Indian Medical Students and the Need forComprehensive Intervention Strategies


Background: Tobacco is one of the most important causes of pulmonary and cardiac diseases. Healthprofessionals, including medical students, should ideally play an important role in the fight against tobacco usebut several reports suggest that a good number of medical students are themselves addicted to tobacco.
Methods:This is a single institutional cross-sectional survey of preclinical medical students in Moti Lal Nehru MedicalCollege, Allahabad over a five-year period from 2003-2007. Data was collected using the WHO Global HealthProfessionals Survey questionnaire.
Results: 560 students over a period of five years were included in this study.A total of 183 were tobacco users of which 83 were tobacco chewers, 59 cigarette smokers and 41were addictedto both chewing and smoking. As health professionals, 88% knew that they should advise their patients to quittobacco.
Conclusion:This study showed rampant abuse of tobacco. Specific smoking cessation training is neededfor medical students to develop appropriate skills and strategies.