Role of Tobacco Warning Labels in Informing Smokers about Risks of Smoking among Bus Drivers in Mangalore, India


Background: Smoking tobacco is considered as a leading cause of preventable death, mostly in developingcountries like India. One of the primary goals of international tobacco control is to educate smokers about therisks associated with tobacco consumption. Tobacco warning labels (TWLs) on cigarette packages are one ofthe most common statutory means to communicate health risks of smoking to smokers, with the hope that onceeducated, they will be more likely to quit the habit. Materials and
Methods: The present survey was conductedto assess the effectiveness of TWLs in communicating health risks of tobacco usage among 263 adult smokersworking as bus drivers in Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), Mangalore, India. Informationwas collected on demographic details, exposure and response to health warnings on tobacco products, intentionto quit and nicotine dependency.
Results: The majority (79.5%) of the respondents revealed negative intentionstowards quitting smoking. Nearly half of the participants had a ‘low’ nicotine dependency (47.5%) and 98.1%of the respondents had often noticed warning labels on tobacco packages. These health warnings made 71.5% ofthe respondents think about quitting smoking. Respondents who noticed advertisement or pictures about dangersof smoking had better knowledge, with respect to lung cancer and impotence as a consequence of tobacco. Ahigher exposure to warning labels was significantly associated with lower nicotine dependency levels of smokersamong the present study population. A significantly higher number of respondents who noticed advertisementor pictures about the dangers of smoking thought about the risks of smoking and were more inclined to thinkabout quitting smoking. As exposure increased, an increase in the knowledge and response of participants wasalso observed.
Conclusions: Exposure to tobacco warning labels helps to educate smokers about health risksof tobacco smoking. It may be possible to promote oral health among bus drivers by developing strategies toeducate them about these risk factors.