Prevalence and Social Contextual Factors of Smokeless Tobacco Use: Insights from Schools of Delhi, India

Document Type : Research Articles


Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi, India.


Background: It was observed that adult users start tobacco use in childhood or adolescence. The influence of digital and print media, social acceptance among peers, and in order to mimic role models from films attracts youth towards tobacco. Hence this study was conducted to assess the prevalence of smokeless tobacco (SLT) use among school-going adolescents with the assessment of the influencing factors such as exposure at school, home, and public places along with the role of various media in SLT use by adolescents. Methods: Cross sectional study was conducted with 860 students of class 9th -12th enrolled in schools. Purposive sampling of three schools was done from the study area to reach desired sample size. All the students of class 9th - 12th within selected schools were given chance to participate in the study. Data collection was done using pretested modified Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) questionnaire. Results: Consumption of smokeless tobacco (SLT) was observed in 79 (11%) of 714 subjects. Significantly higher proportion (18.4%) of study subjects consumed SLT who were exposed to tobacco at school premises and 19.1% of study subjects who were exposed to teacher using SLT in schools compared to non-exposed group. (p=0.016). It was observed that 8.1% of subjects without any exposure to tobacco at home and 9.8% of subjects without exposure to tobacco at outdoor public space consumed SLT. Consumption of SLT use was highest (16.7%) among subjects exposed to tobacco advertisement or promotion through social media (p=0.04). Conclusion: High prevalence of SLT was detected among adolescents in school. Factors such as exposure to tobacco at home, public places, school and school teacher using SLT, exposure of tobacco advertisement and promotion via different modes of media was found to be significantly associated with the use of SLT in the adolescents of school.


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