Abstract: Background and aims:
Tobacco use is responsible for almost 10,000 deaths each day and approximately 4.9 million deaths per year worldwide. Many health hazards are caused, increased or exacerbated by tobacco use. Smoking is now recognized as a major public health problem among the elderly. Since factors affecting tobacco use and its prevalence among the elderly are not completely understood, the present study was undertaken to know the prevalence of tobacco consumption among elderly population in an urban slum of Belagavi city.
Methods and Material: This community based cross-sectional study was done from October 2012 to December 2012 among 395 elderly people residing in an slum under urban field practice area administrated by Medical College in north Karnataka, using predesigned and pretested questionnaire. Statistical analysis was done by using percentages and chi square test.
Results: Out of 395 study participants, 138 (34.94%) were tobacco users. Majority (65.2%) of them were consuming smokeless tobacco. In those using smokeless tobacco, 50.9% were consuming pan followed by plain tobacco (35.8%), khaini/jarda (7.6%) and gutka (5.7%). About 69% of tobacco users had initiated the habit at the age of 21-30 years. Most of the participants (60.2%) told that friends had influenced them for initiation of tobacco followed by influence from the advertisements (18.1%). Majority of study participants (76.8%) told that they don’t know the exact reason for consuming tobacco, whereas 18.8% told that it increases bowel movement and 4.4% told that it decreases tooth ache.
Conclusion: There is a need to create awareness that smokeless tobacco use is less harmful than smoking. This can be achieved by strengthening the information, education and communication (IEC) activities. An environment should be created in the community that help smokers quit and persuade and help others to stop tobacco use.