Tobacco and areca nut use among children of primary and secondary boarding schools of Gandhinagar district: a cross sectional study

Nilesh Thakor, Dipak Prajapati


Background: Tobacco and Areca nut use among school children is becoming a serious problem in developing countries. Objectives of current study were to determine the prevalence and pattern of smokeless tobacco and areca nut use among residential school children and to know the reason behind sending them in boarding school.

Methods: The study was a cross sectional study. After taking the permission of principal of resident schools and consent of the parents of children, 867 children from 8 boarding schools were interviewed during February-March 2011. A self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection.

Results: Age of the study children (total 867) ranged from 5-19 years. (Mean age = 13.80 ± 1.96 years). Out of 867, 434 (49.9%) were boys and 433 (50.1%) were girls. Out of 867 children 311 (35.9%) children [Females: 99 (22.8%); Males: 212 (48.8%)] had addiction. Prevalence of any type of addiction in girls and boys was 22.8% and 48.8% respectively. Tobacco prevalence was 18.6% and areca nut prevalence was 17.3%. Out of 212 male children who had addiction majority of children {149 (70.3%)} consume tobacco in the form of gutkha and out of 149, 127 (85.2%) male children consume tobacco since 1 to 3 years and 22 (14.8%) children since 4 to 9 years. Among the tobacco users, the mean age at the start of any tobacco use was 12.8 years with an SD of 1.1 years. Out of 99 female children who had addiction  majority of children {87 (87.9%)} consume areca nut and out of 87, 74 (85.1%) female children consume areca nut since 1 to 3 years and 13 (14.9%) children since 4 to 9 years. The mean age group of children who consume tobacco and areca nut was 14.34 ± 1.83 years and 14.03 ± 1.41 years. 63.6% children were in residential school were due to economical reason.

Conclusion: High prevalence of tobacco and betel nut in children indicate that more emphasis should be given to increase their awareness regarding hazards of these substances through health education campaign with active involvement of teachers and parents.  


Age at initiation, Prevalence, Residential school children, Tobacco, Areca nut

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