Passive Smoking and its Effects among Children of a Rural Population in South Tamilnadu, India

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.04.04.Art019

Authors : Pethuru Devadason, Arya Rajendran, Akhila Vinod, Annu Ann Zachariah, Anoop S, Aarthy T, Annie Rexalin Pradeepa T, Akhila PM


Tobacco kills nearly 6 million people each year. Passive smoking is a major hazard to the health of millions of children worldwide. Globally, an estimated 40% of children are reported to be exposed to passive smoke. Adverse effects of smoking in rural population are well studied in any parts the world. But the impact of passive smoking on the children is not widely studied.

Objectives: This study was carried out with the following two objectives: 1) To determine the prevalence of passive smoking among children in a rural population in South India and 2) To find out the effects of passive smoking on children in the study population.

Methodology: This is a community based cross sectional study. It was carried out in Marappadi village in Kulasekharam Panchayat, Kanyakumari District, Tamilnadu in October 2014. 150 children under 15 years in the village were approached at their houses, with questionnaire for socio demographic details and passive smoking history. Apart from this the history of Low birth weight, Growth retardation, and number of URTIs, LRTIs, Ear Infections, Allergy and Asthma episodes were elicited. Data collected was entered in Excel spreadsheet and Analysis was done using SPSS version 16.

Results: There were 150 under 15 children in the study which were collected from 96 households. They were 82 (54.7%) males and 68 (45.3%) females. Passive smoking was present in 32 (21.3%) children. Overcrowding was present in 61 (40.7%) children’s houses. 64 (42.7%) children didn’t have adequate ventilation. Smoke from kitchen was present in 126 (84.0%) houses. 40 (26.7%) of the households were having anti mosquito usage in their house. The number of URTIs was significantly more with children having history of passive smoking as denoted by significant p- value is 0.002. Asthma was present in 20 (13.3%) of children; ear infection was there in 6 (4.0%) children and Allergy was present in 18 (12.0%) children at the time of study. They were more with children having history of passive smoking by looking at the simple percentages. But they were not statistically significant (p – value > 0.05).

Conclusion: 1) The prevalence of Passive Smoking in the study population is 21.3%. 2) Environmental risk factors like Overcrowding, Lack of adequate ventilation, Smoke from kitchen and Anti Mosquito smoke are significantly more associated with children having Passive Smoking. 3) Upper Respiratory Infections are more significantly associated with those who have history of Passive Smoking.

Keywords: Passive Smoking, Rural Population, Smoking among Children, Smoking complications, Rural India.


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