Awareness about Tobacco Causing Head and Neck Cancers via Mass Media: A Case-Control Study from India

Document Type : Cancer and Medical Genetic international joint Conference (Special issue)


Department of Public health Torrens University Melbourne, Australia.


Objective: This study aimed to assess the awareness of people about the adverse effects of tobacco (smoking and chewing) consumption causing head and neck cancers (HNCs) via mass media channels like television, cinema, radio and newspapers or magazines, wall painting or billboards / hoardings, public transportation and packets of chewing tobacco, bidis or cigarettes. Methods: Hospital-based case–control was conducted in Pune, Maharashtra, India. Face to face interviews were conducted for the purpose of data collection on 225 cases and 240 controls. The relationship between two categorical variables were estimated using chi-square test with a  2-tailed P value of <.05.  SPSS software was used for data analysis. Results: Controls as compared to cases had good awareness scores for chewing (59.9%) and smoking tobacco (63.7%), P<0.001. The most common form of mass media was television where the cases (60.4%) and controls (77.9%) had heard messages about tobacco in chewing and smoking form causing HNCs. Level of awareness of tobacco causing HNCs amongst tobacco users, stratified by their status (cases versus controls) showed that cases were 1.68 times less likely than controls to have heard or seen messages about the association between chewing tobacco and HNCs via radio. Males (61.3% and 61.0%) had significantly (P<0.001) more awareness as compared to females (46.9% and 43.5%) about chewing and smoking tobacco as a causal factor for  HNCs. Conclusion: Mass media needs to create a social environment which discourages tobacco consumption and promotes oral health at the population level. Additionally, there should be easy access to the availability of support services like Quitline and other community support services.


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