Author(s): Vinod Kumar Viswanathan1, Junior Sunderesh2, Bharakathul Reshma3
Tobacco is a public health problem globally and an important cause of preventable premature death in middle and low income countries. The government of India has taken several measures to ensure tobacco control and suggested that a systematic surveillance system is a key strategy in tobacco control. However the fact remains that people continue to smoke. This study was undertaken to understand the smoking patterns among patients attending a Pulmonology clinic and to assess their knowledge of smoking cessation methods. Data from this study can be used for planning and resource allocation of a smoking cessation clinic. The aim is to study the smoking patterns and the knowledge of cessation strategies and to analyse the willingness of the patients to quit smoking in patients attending a Pulmonology clinic.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Around 489 patients visiting the Pulmonology clinic for 15 days were screened and patients with history of smoking habit were included in the study. 133 such patients were assessed with a structured questionnaire and results were analysed.
The prevalence of patients with smoking habits was 27.2%. The mean age of smoking initiation was 20.9 years of age. Percentage of beedi smokers (52.6%) was much higher than the cigarette smokers (37.6%). The average number of cigarettes or beedis smoked per day was 16.6. Only 12.8% were aware of therapeutic options for nicotine de-addiction. Most of the patients had difficulty in smoking cessation.
Most of the patients lack health education regarding the ill effects of smoking or about smoking cessation strategies. Many of them still have inhibitions and fail to seek health services at the earliest, hence we should be able to bridge the gap and give due importance to information, education and communication (IEC) activities. Creation of smoking cessation clinics with trained personnel offering various cessation strategies such as psychological counselling, pharmacological therapies such as Nicotine replacement therapies will be useful to bring down the morbidity and mortality associated with tobacco use.