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Migrants at risk of tobacco

By FnF Desk | PUBLISHED: 22, Oct 2017, 11:48 am IST | UPDATED: 22, Oct 2017, 11:48 am IST

Migrants at risk of tobacco

Kochi: The health of inter-state migrant construction workers is at risk from tobacco use, finds a new study.

The first-ever such study in the state to assess tobacco-induced health burden among them showed 90.25 percent of them addicted, leading to a host of painful oral diseases.

In what could further accentuate the cancer burden, a high 42.27 percent reported precancerous oral mucosal lesions in the study that covered 2,163 (1982 male and 181 female) workers aged 14 to 55.

Among tobacco users, 84.74 percent were male and 5.51 percent female. Nearly 35 percent used tobacco for six to ten years, according to the study published in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice.

The departments of public health dentistry, St Gregorios Dental College and Kannur Dental College carried out the study in five municipalities of Kothamangalam, Muvattupuzha, Perumbavoor, Angamaly and Aluva of Ernakulam district.

Interviewers collected data including duration and type of tobacco use besides quit attempts. More than half (52.3 percent) used smokeless forms of tobacco including substances such as pan masala (pan parag) a banned item in the state while 15.93 percent smoke cigarettes and 12.76 percent bidis.

Well over a quarter (28.64 percent) of them used both smoking and smokeless forms. The study also revealed that 88.83 percent never tried to quit tobacco use, while 58.09 percent were not willing to stop. The study attributes migration-related stress to the high tobacco use.

Dr Anzil K.S. Ali, senior lecturer, St Gregarious and the first author of
the study said, “Theinter-state migrant workers who play a major role in our construction sector are victims of occupations involving hard labour, poverty, and low literacy coupled with ignorance. Targeted behaviour change communication
in migrants’ native languages is the need of the hour.”