KNOWLEDGE AND PERCEPTION OF ARECA/SMOKELESS TOBACCO USERS ABOUT ORAL CANCER
AbstractBackground: According to World Health Organization (WHO), six million deaths are attributable to tobacco use globally, of which nearly 1.2 million occur in South‑East Asia. Use of smokeless tobacco is highly prevalent in subcontinent and is home to over 250 million smokeless tobacco (ST) users. ST is a major public health problem. It cause localized oral lesions and poses risk for developing oral cancers owing to it containing more than 30 cancer causing substances, in addition to nicotine which is a highly addictive. This study was conducted to assess the overall knowledge and compare knowledge, attitude and perceptions of ST users presenting to private and public health care facilities. Methods: This cross sectional comparative study was carried out from April to July 2011 to establish the details of underlying factors and perceptions of areca/ST users presenting in public and private health care facilities of Karachi. Through systematic random sampling, 464 male and female users (≥14 years) were interviewed. The data was analysed in SPSS-16. Results: Mean age of the users of Private Clinic (PC) was 25±7.183 years while that of Public hospitals (PH) respondents was 34±11.3 years. The respondents present in PC (94%) had comparatively more knowledge than the users in PH (75%). About 78% of the study population in PH wanted to quit this habit of chewing whereas 88% in PC have the same attitude (p-0.01). About 68% in Public and 89% in Private clinics ever tried to quit but failed; (p-0.000). Conclusion: Although respondents have substantial knowledge about the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco but due to their perceived psychological and emotional dependency, they remain addicted.
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