Age at initiation and the role model influencing on use of tobacco among school going children in Surendranagar, Gujarat, India

Komal P. Thekdi, Girija P. Kartha, Pukur I. Thekdi


Background: Tobacco use among school children is becoming a serious problem in developing countries. The early age of initiation underscores the urgent need to intervene and protect this vulnerable group from falling prey to this addiction. The present study was undertaken to assess the prevalence of tobacco habits, determine the age of initiation and compare with current use and to find out the role models influencing tobacco use.

Methods: A   cross   sectional   study   conducted   in    both    private    and    government    schools   selected   by random    sampling.     Each class   had   an   enrolment   of   50   students   and   all   the   students  were  interviewed  through  pre  -  tested  questionnaire  and clinical examination was conducted to find out health hazards due to tobacco consumption .

Results: About 17.31% of the students had smoked cigarettes/bidis 28.10% had tried smokeless form of tobacco use. Children were smoking significantly more in the group who had started using tobacco from <11 years (59%) compared to after 11 years (p<0.05). Role models significantly influence on their tobacco usage (p<0.05). Most common role model observed were father followed by favourite celebrities and others. Commonest health hazards found with tobacco consumption were oral problems.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate a recent downward shift in the age at initiation of tobacco uptake. Such data need to be collected from different parts of the country to develop anti-tobacco campaigns and take policy decision.


Age at initiation, Prevalence, Smoking, Smokeless tobacco

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