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Role of Tobacco Warning Labels in Informing Smokers about Risks of Smoking among Bus Drivers in Mangalore, India

  • Mallikarjun, Sajjanshetty (Department of Public Health Dentistry, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal University) ;
  • Rao, Ashwini (Department of Public Health Dentistry, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal University) ;
  • Rajesh, Gururaghavendran (Department of Public Health Dentistry, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal University) ;
  • Shenoy, Ramya (Department of Public Health Dentistry, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal University) ;
  • Mithun, Pai B.H. (Department of Public Health Dentistry, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal University)
  • Published : 2014.10.23

Abstract

Background: Smoking tobacco is considered as a leading cause of preventable death, mostly in developing countries like India. One of the primary goals of international tobacco control is to educate smokers about the risks associated with tobacco consumption. Tobacco warning labels (TWLs) on cigarette packages are one of the most common statutory means to communicate health risks of smoking to smokers, with the hope that once educated, they will be more likely to quit the habit. Materials and Methods: The present survey was conducted to assess the effectiveness of TWLs in communicating health risks of tobacco usage among 263 adult smokers working as bus drivers in Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), Mangalore, India. Information was collected on demographic details, exposure and response to health warnings on tobacco products, intention to quit and nicotine dependency. Results: The majority (79.5%) of the respondents revealed negative intentions towards quitting smoking. Nearly half of the participants had a 'low' nicotine dependency (47.5%) and 98.1% of the respondents had often noticed warning labels on tobacco packages. These health warnings made 71.5% of the respondents think about quitting smoking. Respondents who noticed advertisement or pictures about dangers of smoking had better knowledge, with respect to lung cancer and impotence as a consequence of tobacco. A higher exposure to warning labels was significantly associated with lower nicotine dependency levels of smokers among the present study population. A significantly higher number of respondents who noticed advertisement or pictures about the dangers of smoking thought about the risks of smoking and were more inclined to think about quitting smoking. As exposure increased, an increase in the knowledge and response of participants was also observed. Conclusions: Exposure to tobacco warning labels helps to educate smokers about health risks of tobacco smoking. It may be possible to promote oral health among bus drivers by developing strategies to educate them about these risk factors.

Keywords

Tobacco warning labels;bus drivers;smoking;nicotine dependence

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