Background: Tobacco is a leading preventable cause of deaths worldwide; the situation is particularlyserious in the developing countries. Tobacco use amongst the children and adolescents is already a pandemicand they are vulnerable targets of tobacco industry. This is also the case in India.
Objectives: 1) Document andmonitor the prevalence of tobacco use including smoked, smokeless and other forms of tobacco; 2) Understandstudentknowledge and attitudes related to tobacco use and its health impact; 3) Assess the impact of tobacco onthe oral health status of school-going children in India. Materials and
Methods: The sample was 1,500 schoolchildren of the age group 12-15 years age. A pretested, close ended questionnaire was administered in the formof extensive face to face interview to understand student knowledge, attitudes and behavior related to tobaccouse and its health impact and to assess the prevalence of tobacco use including smoked, smokeless and otherforms of tobacco. Oral health status was assessed using the Community Periodontal Index (CPI). Frequencydistribution, Chi-square tests and Odd’s ratio was calculated.
Results: Prevalence of tobacco usage amongst theprevalence was 20.4%: 9.2% reported smoking, 15.8% used tobacco in the chewable form and 25.3% childrenwere involved in consuming betel nut/areca nuts. The OR (Odd’s ratio) for calculus formation was highest forguthka chewers (OR=14.322), paan masala chewers had the highest odds of developing bleeding on probingwhen compared to the others.
Conclusions: There is an urgent need to launch school-based tobacco preventionprograms for community awareness of children and the public, as preventing the initiation of a habit is far easierthan stopping it.