News
 International
   Global Views
   Asia-Pacific
   America
   Europe
   Middle East & Africa
 National
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Business
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Taekwondo
 Media
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 Cartoons/Comics/Humor
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Life
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Housing
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 Job
 English Teaching
 Translation/Writing
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Business
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Entertainment
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Community
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 PenPal/Friendship
 Volunteers
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
  Global Views
Medical Students Need to Quit Tobacco First
By Bobby Ramakant
Asia Correspondent
Smoking scene

A recent study gives further evidence that prevalence of tobacco use is more in medical students than in general population. This becomes all the more paradoxical when India's 25 crore tobacco users look up at existing healthcare providers for assistance in quitting tobacco. Also it questions how serious are we to prevent needless diseases and deaths attributed to tobacco use, ponders Bobby Ramakant.

AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) survey among medical students of North India conclusively proves that smoking in medical students increases as their medical schooling goes ahead.

"Tobacco Kills" or "Tobacco causes Cancer" says the new health warning on every tobacco pack. With young doctors and medical students not heeding to this health warning, has the tobacco control strategy went fundamentally awry?

Results of an AIIMS survey on smoking among medical students in Delhi and other parts of the region in North India sends a shiver down the spine — 56 percent of them smoke.

Furthermore most alarming was the fact that 35 percent of medical students surveyed were found to be "nicotine-dependent"!

The year-long survey was done by Department of Medicine at AIIMS with students from major medical colleges of North India answering questionnaires based on their smoking habits.

"This survey used the Fagerstrom test for nicotine dependence," said Dr Randeep Guleria, Professor of Medicine at AIIMS. This test was developed by Dr Karl Fagerstrom, a globally acclaimed authority in tobacco cessation.

"Dependence on smoking was assessed by the quantitative method with questions like number of cigarettes smoked every day and the time of lighting up the first cigarette after waking up," said Dr Guleria. He further added that "The motivation to stop smoking was assessed qualitatively by direct questions about intentions to quit."

37.5 percent medical students took to cigarettes after seeing others smoke, a further 32.5 percent smoked since they felt it was a stress-buster; 8.75 percent started due to "peer pressure," 11 percent were found to be "heavy smokers," and 45 percent had a "family history of smoking."

It is clear that the need to have a strong tobacco control and health education programme within healthcare settings is most compelling. Unless we have a health education programme in place, how else do we plan to reduce the number of medical students who may take up tobacco use during medical schooling?

If public health campaigns cannot bring in a change in medical students who 'believe' that tobacco is a stress-buster and smoke because of peer pressure or lifestyle imagery, then how effective will they be in general community?

However an overwhelming majority had tried to quit tobacco use. 65 percent had made attempts to quit, while 62 percent were willing to quit if assisted. Are we prepared and geared up enough to provide this 'assistance' ?

That brings us to the glaring gap in tobacco cessation services within healthcare settings. Unless tobacco cessation skills are imparted to mainstream healthcare providers utilizing and building upon existing infrastructure and health systems, how are we going to provide quality assistance to 62 percent of medical students who want to quit tobacco use?

Professor (Dr) Rama Kant, Head of the Tobacco Cessation Clinics at King George's Medical University (KGMU), says that "Doctors who use tobacco, endanger their own health, and send a misleading message to patients and to the public. The best way forward is to invest in building training capacities of existing tobacco cessation clinics so that these can impart not only cessation services, but also impart tobacco cessation skills in healthcare staff from different settings. It is also vital to integrate tobacco cessation counseling in routine medical practice."

The AIIMS survey indicates that the mean age of starting smoking was 18.65 years.

With deceptive tobacco advertising and misconceptions associated with tobacco use, the addiction takes roots before the age of 18, says Prof Kant. By the time tobacco-related hazards begin to manifest, the person, including medical students, is already addicted to nicotine dose. Nicotine is as addictive as heroin and cocaine, stated a US Surgeon General Report in 1988. It is not easy to quit tobacco, but it is also not impossible, asserts Prof Kant.

So far India has about 20 tobacco cessation clinics supported by World Health Organization across the country.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) tobacco use is responsible for over 10 lakh deaths in India each year, which is about 3000 deaths every day.

The urgency to reduce or decimate preventable burden of life-threatening diseases attributed to tobacco is compelling.

Prof Kant points to a possible way forward – 'a combination of health education programme with tobacco control in focus to alarm new medical students and encourage them not to use tobacco should be incorporated while we scale up tobacco cessation services across the country,'



Related Articles
    Do It Right the First Time, Every Time!
    Keeping Workforce Healthy Is Also a Smart ...
    Should Asia Pacific Lead World with Robust ...
    Will Post-2015 Development Agenda Integrate ...
    Nepal Leading Tobacco Control in S. Asia: Will ...
    Regular HIV Prevention Counselling Reduces ...
    Strong Tobacco Taxation Policy Adopted despite ...
    Biggest Killer of Kids Under 5 Is Pneumonia
    Scaling Up Natural Fertility Awareness Methods ...
    Should Asthma Control Us or We Control Asthma?
    Coordinated Approach Needed to Overcome ...
    Lung Health Needs Attention
    Should Tuberculosis (TB)-Preventive Therapy ...
    Responding to TB, HIV, COPD and Tobacco ...
    "Good Health Is India's Basic Need": Easier ...
    Int'l Day Against Drug Abuse, Illicit ...
    World Now in Early Days of 2009 Influenza ...
    One-Third Preventable Deaths Can Be Averted by ...
    Politics: Allocation of Resources
    If G20 Agrees, Health Financing Might Come ...
    Neglect of Tuberculosis Control among ...
    Is It Ethical to Provide TB Treatment without ...
    Youth against Cross-border Tobacco Advertising ...
    Vitamin A Supplements Reduces Child Mortality ...
    Mayawati Ji, Why Did We Get Bulldozers Instead ...
    How Will the World Begin to See TB Care as a ...
    Will recession impede TB care and control?
    Kala Azar Patients Lack Adequate Diagnosis and ...
    Further Dilution of Pictorial Tobacco Warnings ...
    Village Community Radio Will Give Voice to ...
    Citizens of India-Pakistan Stand Up for Peace
    Another Blow to Enforcement of Tobacco Control ...
    Addressing HIV and IDU Issues Vital for TB ...
    Effective Tobacco Control Policies in Nepal ...
    Countries Unite against Tobacco Industry Abuse
    India Agrees That Tobacco Industry Puts ...
    National Partnership for TB Care and Control ...
    Need to Refrain from Communal Politics in India
    India Embraces Smoke-free Policies on ...
    3rd Global Tobacco Treaty Action Guide 2008 ...
    Uphold Public Health over Corporate Interests
    Bringing Diabetes to Light
    Andhra Pradesh Should Gear Up to Enforce ...
    Pictorial Warnings on Tobacco Products in ...
    HDN and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance ...
    'We Reject Indo-US Nuclear Deal' Campaign ...
    Help Aamir Khan to Keep Promises and Quit ...
    Indian Court Serves Notice to Amitabh Bachchan ...
    NAPM Opposes the Indo-US Nuclear Deal
    Overcoming State Suppression, Prof. Agarwal ...
    10-Day Fast in Support of Dr. Binayak Sen ...
    Will South Korea Reaffirm Commitment to TB/HIV ...
    Activists to Fast for 10 Days Demanding ...
    Enforce Existing Tobacco Control Legislations ...
    Scaling Up of MPOWER Tobacco Control ...
    Kanpur Land-Sharks Intimidate RTI Activist by ...
    'You Can Control Your Asthma': Dr. Nils Billo
    Will Indian Government Arrest Those Who ...
    Asthma Control Is Appalling in Most Countries
    After 1.5 Years, Right-to-Information Act ...
    Democracy Weeps in Nandigram: NHRC and NCW ...
    Enforcement of Tobacco Ban in Prisons Uphill ...
    Displaced People in India Announce a Massive ...
    Climate Change Has Implications on Public ...
    Who Will Pay US$ 80 Billion to Halve the No. ...
    Can South Korea Stop Drug-resistant TB Too?
    Rising Tobacco Use among Women
    Japan's Obstructionist Position on Illicit ...
    Smoking in Indian Movies Gets Challenged
    'The Padyatra' Linking the Land-rights, ...
    Journalist Reporting on Under-represented ...
    Diabetes Wake-up Call after Years of Neglect ...
    Stop Dow Recruitment in IIT Chennai
    Round-the-clock Burma Vigil in Parliament ...
    Burma Unifies People's Voices in North-East ...
    Mounting Public Pessure against Dams in ...
    Will Independent Commission Increase Judicial ...
    India Ranks 72 in 180 Nations on Corruption ...
    Strengthen Health Systems to Control Dengue: ...
    Young Professionals in US Bring Agri-issues ...
    Mayawati Government to Expedite Justice in ...
    Court Reprimands MP Government for Arresting ...
    News of Three Deaths at IIT Kanpur Confirmed
    Anti-AFSPA Protestors Demand "Free Burma and ...
    Fate of 25,000 Families Hinge on Sept. 20 NCA ...
    IHP Launched to Strengthen Health Systems
    India's Under-nutrition Levels among Highest
    After 20 Years, RTI Is Another Blow to ...
    Public Pressure Mounts against Arrest of ...
    Dhaka Univ. Faculty, Students Beaten Up, ...
    Tobacco Industry Succeeds in Diluting Indian ...
    Activists Oppose the Indo-US Nuclear Deal
    Women Farmers Fast against Reliance ...
    Pepsi to Print 'Public Water Source' on Labels
    Youth Appeal to UN to Prioritise Health
    UN Mid-Point Progress Report on Development ...
    148 Nations Meet as Parties to Global Tobacco ...
    Alert to Protect Global Tobacco Treaty before ...
    Patil in for President's Race Not Only because ...
    Hashimpura Survivors Find Hope in RTI Act
    Hyderabad Blast: Wake Up Call for Secular India
    Health Ministry Alert on Iron-Deficiency ...
    Integrate Tobacco Cessation in Healthcare ...
    1st Time Indians Get 2007 Human Rights Prize
    Responding to Diverse HIV Healthcare Needs
    Why Should S. Korea Enforce Tobacco Treaty?
    34 Cases of Avian Influenza Found in Egypt
    With Inadequate Cessation Services, What Will ...
    Another Death of Pregnant Woman with HIV Is ...
    Don't Forget The Rise in Violence Against ...
    A Ray of Hope for Medical University Teaching
    Alarm Bells Sound in Nandigram for Indian ...
    Activists Challenge Corporate Control of Water ...
    Vietnam's TB Programs Face New Challenges
    Neglect of Hepatitis C Leaves People with HIV ...
    Tobacco Industries Disregard Nepal's ...
    Link between Tobacco Use and Films
    Integration of TB and HIV Services Urgently ...
    More of the Same Will Brew Drug Resistance
    Is a Priority, Says Indian President Kalam
    Head Injuries Soar Unabatedly: Prof. Rama Kant
    Groundwater Belongs to People, Not to Firms
    Tobacco Shown in Movies Influences Children
    Water Is a Fundamental Human Right
    Global Tobacco Treaty Should Be Implemented
    Founder of Surgical Oncology in India Dies
    HIV Prevention Must Address Women' Needs
    Staying Alive with HIV

Other Articles by Bobby Ramakant
     Do It Right the First Time, Every Time!
     Keeping Workforce Healthy Is Also a Smart ...
     Should Asia Pacific Lead World with Robust ...
     Will Post-2015 Development Agenda Integrate ...
     Nepal Leading Tobacco Control in S. Asia: ...


Bobby Ramakant, who serves as The Seoul Times' Asia correspondent, is a member of NATT, Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals, and edits Weekly MONiTOR series, reporting violations of tobacco control policies as a senior public health and development journalist. He writes for newspapers in 11 countries and can be reached at bobbyramakant@yahoo.com)

 

back

 

 

 

The Seoul Times Shinheungro 25-gil 2-6 Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 02-555-6188 Email:seoultimes@gmail.com
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange