Effectiveness of a Mass Media Campaign on Oral Carcinogens and Their Effects on the Oral Cavity

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Department of Public Health Dentistry,B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan, Nepal.

2 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan, Nepal.

Abstract

Objective: To develop a mass media campaign on oral carcinogens and their effects on the oral cavity in order
to increase awareness among the general population. Methods: Documentary and public service announcements
highlighting the effects of tobacco and its products were designed and developed based on principles of behavior change. A
questionnaire, designed to determine the knowledge, attitude and practice of people regarding oral carcinogens, was used
to conduct a baseline survey at various sites in eastern Nepal. Local television channels and radio stations broadcasted
the documentary and public service announcements. An evaluation survey was then performed to assess the effectiveness
of the campaign. Results: Baseline and evaluation surveys covered 1,972 and 2,140 individuals, respectively. A third
of the baseline population consumed quid, 22% chewing tobacco, 16% gutka (commercial preparation of arecanut,
tobacco, lime and chemicals) and 25% cigarettes. Tobacco consumption differed significantly between 3 ecologic regions
with greater use in the Terai region. The knowledge prevalence regarding the oral carcinogens quid (70%), chewing
tobacco (82%), gutka (58%) and cigarettes (93%) significantly increased in the evaluation population. Females were
more aware about the various tobacco products and their effects on health. More people knew about the harmful effects
of tobacco on their health and oral cavity, and had their mouth examined and the frequency of consumption of these
products reduced significantly after the campaign. Attitudes towards production, sale and advertisements of tobacco
also improved significantly. Conclusions: The mass media campaign was an effective tool for increasing awareness
among the population.

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