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
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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