Document Type : Research Articles
Cancer Foundation of India, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
Civil Hospital, Shillong, Meghalaya, India.
National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, NOIDA, U.P, India.
Background: Several national-level surveys have recognized a high prevalence of tobacco use in North-eastern (NE) India. However, information on tobacco use in specific population subgroups still lacks from the region. The present study determines the prevalence and influence of determinants like education and family income on tobacco use in senior school and college-going girls in Shillong, Meghalaya. Additionally, the prevalence of dual use of smoking and smokeless (SLT) tobacco with alcohol and non-tobacco Pan Masala has been examined. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 18-25 years girls in educational institutions in Shillong. Data were analysed using statistical software SPSS version 22. The categorical data presented as frequency (%). Chi-square was employed to see the association between variables. Results: (i) 8.10% of girls were current users of all forms of tobacco; 1.85% were smokers, 4.0% used SLT, and 2.25% were dual users of tobacco (ii) Of the 6.25% current users of SLT, 5.4% used a single smokeless tobacco product whereas 0.85% used multiple products of SLT (iii) 79.5% of tobacco smokers and 30.2% of current SLT users were dual users with alcohol (iv) 37.2% tobacco smokers and 18.5% SLT users were dual users with non-tobacco Pan Masala (v) Tobacco smoking was positively associated with educational status and family income whereas SLT use was independent of educational status and income of girls’ families. Conclusions: The study shows a relatively high prevalence of tobacco use and dual tobacco use with alcohol in the study population of educated young adult girls, underscoring a public health concern. It is recommended that an education-based comprehensive awareness program be initiated for tobacco and alcohol control in Meghalaya to improve knowledge and health-seeking behaviour change in this high- risk subgroup to control increasing NCDs.