25% Mumbai students between 10 and 19 are addicted to smoking, study reveals
Mumbai parents, teachers and tobacco vendors in the area were also interviewed to find out local attitudes towards the problemmumbai Updated: Nov 05, 2017 00:56 IST
One in every four students between the ages of 10 and 19 in Mumbai’s schools are addicted to smoking and other tobacco products, revealed a recent survey conducted by Prince Aly Khan Hospital, Mazgaon, in association with Manipal University.
While the student population in Mazgaon and its surrounding localities is between 8,000 and 10,000, the study surveyed 1,000 children from 30 municipal and private schools.
“We appreciate the government’s crackdown on hookah parlours. As part of the survey, we found that hookah was highly popular among students. Unfortunately, most of them are unaware that it contains nicotine. We also found it alarming that a high number of children, who, despite knowing of the health hazards and links between oral cancer and tobacco, still continue to consume it,” said Dr Kranti Rayamane, head of the community health department at the hospital.
Parents, teachers and tobacco vendors in the area were also interviewed to find out local attitudes towards the problem.
“There are studies on national and international level tobacco consumption by youngsters. But, we thought it was better to conduct our own survey, find out about ground realities and plan focused interventions with the help of the government,” he said.
Dr Rayamane said that while it was difficult to ascertain if the study represented the situation across the city, it definitely indicated a trend among youngsters exposed to tobacco products.
“We also spoke to the teachers about India’s Tobacco Act, health hazards and intervention techniques. We requested officials and teachers to formulate a tobacco intervention program as part of the school curriculum so it can become a people’s movement rather than remaining advice that you only get from doctors,” Dr Rayamane added.
Doctors said a major trigger for the survey was the presence of young patients in the city’s cancer clinics.
“Dr Sultan Pradhan, senior oncologist and surgeon at the hospital, told us he noticed an increase in the number of young patients at his clinic. He said it was important to tell children as young as 10 about the ill effects of smoking and curb their exposure to nicotine and tobacco products,” Dr Rayamane added.