Tobacco Use and Oral Leukoplakia: Cross-sectional Study among the Gond Tribe in Madhya Pradesh

  • Kumar, Surendra (National Institute for Research in Tribal Health (Indian Council of Medical Research)) ;
  • Muniyandi, Malaisamy (National Institute for Research in Tribal Health (Indian Council of Medical Research))
  • Published : 2015.03.09


Background: Leukoplakia is an asymptomatic and potentially malignant change in the oral mucosa and high frequencies have been reported among smokers. The present study concerned the prevalence of tobacco use and leukoplakia and also associations between the two. Study design: This cross sectional survey was conducted amongst the Gond tribal population of Kundam Block, Jabalpur district, Madhya Pradesh state, Central India during 2007 to 2009. Screening for leukoplakia was conducted by a medical officer with two mouth mirrors. It is only based on visual inspection and oral pathology was not performed. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect information on socio-demographic and smoking habits. Prevalence of leukoplakia among users and non-users of tobacco was calculated in terms of percentages. Results: Of 1,552 individuals aged more than 12 years of age who were screened, 144 (9.3%) were found to have oral leukoplakia. The prevalence of leukoplakia was significantly elevated among tobacco users as compared to non-users (11% vs 2.5%; p<0.001). The percentage of leukoplakia was almost similar in both tobacco smokers and chewers (9% vs 11%; p=0.304). However, the percentage of leukoplakia was especially high among those chewers who also smoked tobacco (21.9%). Conclusions: The findings of the present study showed a positive effect of tobacco use and prevalence of leukoplakia. Also the prevalence was very high among Gond tribe, a marginalized population living in central India. There is a need for effective screening and treatment of leukoplakia in this area.


Tobacco use;Leukoplakia;tribe;marginalized population;India


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