Impact on patterns of tobacco and its initiation among children of conflict area in Jammu and Kashmir (India): a school based study
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Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Health Services, India
International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Tobacco Control, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A962
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School going children are becoming target of Tobacco Industry and is a serious issue in disturbed areas of India particularly Kashmir. 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 thus undertaken to assess the prevalence of tobacco habits (Patterns) among school children, determine the age & major reasons of initiation of these habits, and compare the age of initiation between students who were more than 15 and ≤ 18 yr of age.

Through cluster and random sampling method, private and government schools of Kashmir valley (10 Districts) of Jammu and Kashmir were identified for the study. In identified schools a structured questionnaire was administered among students of class 7 to 12 (aged 11-19 yr). The data entry was done in further descriptive and exploratory data analysis was done manually.

It is found that 18.4% students; 375 (14.1%) were 'ever smokers (including current smokers), 111(4.1%) were 'ever tobacco chewers (including current chewers)', (11.94%) were 'exclusive smokers' and (3.5%) were 'exclusive tobacco chewers'. 512 (19.3%) children belong to families affected by unrest and suffered economic loss from last 3 years. The mean age of initiation of these habits was around 10.4 year. Nearly 75 % of boys and 6% of girls ≤ 15 yr initiated the habit of tobacco before the age of 12yr.

The study concludes that Tobacco use in Kashmir (State J&K) among children is higher than the national average, the conflict in the region may be the one of main reason behind it. It also highlight the alarming fact that age initiation among these areas is much lower than the state average. Customized policy intervention is required to control the tobacco use among children in conflict area.

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