25 pc of children in some rural schools in Panchkula dist chew tobacco: PGI survey
The survey, having a sample size of 2,500 children, was conducted last year and the schools in rural Panchkula were randomly picked up, Dr Ashima Goyal, professor, oral health sciences centre, Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, here today.
The exercise was carried out under the programme– Feasibility Module of Primary Prevention of Dental Caries and Gingival diseases in 5-16 year old utilising the existing health and education infrastructure.
“This survey was conducted last year. Smokeless tobacco lesions were found in some,” she said.
Nishant from the PGI’s oral health sciences centre, who was part of the survey, said the aim of the survey was to find out tobacco misuse among children.
“In Raipur Rani block of Panchkula, some schools were randomly picked up to find out tobacco misuse among children. We covered nearly 2,500 children and out of these 25 per cent were found to chew tobacco,” Nishant said.
He said that what was alarming was even children aged as young as eight years were found to have picked up the ill habit.
“During our interaction with children, we take them into confidence first and teachers are also not present during our interactive sessions with children. Many children told us that peer pressure was on of the reason while some others said they purchase the stuff for their parents or relatives and start experimenting themselves thus picking the habit. While children aged above 12 years knew the harmful effects of what they were consuming, children below this age were not aware,” he said.
Nishant said that PGIMER’s Oral Health Sciences Centre intends to conduct a similar survey in government schools of Chandigarh.
“The Oral Health Sciences Centre has sent a proposal to the Centre in which we have sought sophisticated instrument to carry out the tests. The instrument is called Carbon Monoxide analyser, and one would know from the breath if one has smoked or chewed tobacco even 72 hours before. It is a big project and we will target government schools in Chandigarh,” he said.