A Community Based Smoking Cessation Intervention Trial for Rural Kerala, India


Objectives: An attempt was made to compare tobacco prevalence and socioeconomic factors of two groups (intervention and control) from a selected rural community in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.
Methods: Data were collected from resident males in the age group of 18.0 to 60.0 years from 4 randomly allocated Community Development Blocks of rural Thiruvananthapuram district (2 intervention & control groups).Trained Accredited Social Health Activists workers were utilised to collect data from both the groups through a face to face interview.
Results: Among 3304 subjects were interviewed, the overall prevalence of smokers was 28% (n=928) (mean age=44.4 years, SD=9.2 years). Socio-economic status (SES) score points indicated that majority of smokers belonged to the upper lower SES category (61%) (mean SES score =10, SD= 3) and among non-smokers, the participants mainly belonged to the lower middle SES score (45%) (mean SES score =12, SD= 3) (p-value=0.0001). Among the 928 smokers, 474 subjects were in the intervention area (mean age =44.56 years, SD =9.66 years) and 454 in the control area (mean age= 44.47 years, SD =10.30 years). No significant difference was found between the intervention and control groups according to age (p=0.89) and SES (p=0.11). Majority of smokers in the intervention and control areas were from the upper lower SES group (64.14% and 57.17%).
Conclusion: Smoking continues to be a predominant public health problem among males in rural Kerala particularly among lower socio-economic population. Apart from strengthening legislation, multiple cost effective intervention approaches are required to reduce tobacco consumption in the community.