Document Type : Research Articles
Division of Community Oncology, Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.
Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.
Department of Periodontics, Sri Sankara Dental College, Vennicode, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.
Former Director, Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.
Background: Known is the fact that adult tobacco users mostly had their initiation into the habit during the adolescence period. The current study was conducted to evaluate the impact of awareness programmes among adolescent students in rural Kerala, India, in terms of knowledge enhancement on tobacco hazards. Methods: A total of 10 high schools and higher secondary schools from one educational sub district were selected using multi stage sampling design. Male students in the age group 13-19 years studying in class IX and X (high school category) and class XI and XII (higher secondary school) were included in the study. The effectiveness was assessed using pre and post training evaluation forms based on mean knowledge scores. Results: 1,114 students participated by filling both the forms (mean age 15.6, SD 1.3). The response rate was 92.8%. The prevalence of ‘current users’ in the study was 4.3% (95% CI 3.11- 5.49). Overall difference in mean knowledge scores among study subjects was evident when pre and post training responses were compared (p<0.001). The difference in knowledge scores was evident among ‘never users’ of tobacco before and after the awareness programmes (p<0.0001). However, no significant difference in mean scores was observed among ‘ever users’ of tobacco (p = 0.584), age groups of ever users (p=0.208), students of high schools (p = 0.242) and higher secondary schools (p= 0.994). Comparison of never, ever and current users revealed significant difference between ‘never’ and ‘current’ users (p = 0.001). However, no such difference was observed between ‘ever’ and ‘current’ users (p =0.138) and ‘ever’ versus ‘never’ users (p =0.099). Conclusion: The study was useful to improve knowledge among school students in general. However, newer strategies have to be tested to understand the best possible measures for tobacco awareness training among adolescent tobacco users.