KOCHI: As another World No Tobacco Day falls on Wednesday, a study conducted by the Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, in association with National Service Scheme (NSS) among school students reveals that 29.6 per cent of them use tobacco products, all of which are boys while no girl belongs to the group. The study was carried out among 5,678 students in 15 selected higher secondary schools in Karunagappally in Kollam district. A total of 2,567 boys and 3,111 girls were covered under the study which was conducted in last October and November. Of this, 760 students were found to be using tobacco products. Out of this 308 boys used more than one tobacco product. Majority of the students used cigarettes and pan masala.
In another revelation, the study led by RCC surgical oncology additional professor and Cochin Cancer Research Centre superintendent Dr P.G. Balagopal identified that 253 boys among them consumed liquor. A total of 1,819 students covered by the survey said that those in the family used tobacco or tobacco products while 1,420 students said that elders in the family consumed liquor. Forty per cent started tobacco use as a hobby, 18 per cent said that elders in family and film stars prompted them while 12 per cent said that their zest to become campus heroes triggered it. A total of 2,347 students said that tobacco and its products were available near the schools while 1,064 students said that tobacco products were available in the school itself. Interestingly 5,382 students were aware of the harmful effects of tobacco use. Seventy percent of those who smoked did it while being in the company of others.
RCC Community Oncology Department Associate Professor Dr R Jayakrishnan, Surgery Department Assistant Professor Dr Neby George also took part in the study aided by P Kesavadev Trust and directed by RCC Director Dr Paul Sebastian. At the school level NSS committee member M Mahesh Chandran led the survey. "Definitely the use of tobacco among the younger generation is on the rise. They get addicted at an early age without knowing its long term implication. Even oral cancers are seen nowadays in 20-year-olds also," said Dr Arun Warrier, medical oncologist, Aster Medcity here.