Public opinion about smoking and smoke free legislation in a district of North India

Indian J Cancer. July-September 2014;51(3):330-334. doi: 10.4103/0019-509X.146788.


Context: A growing number of cities, districts, counties and states across the globe are going smoke-free. While an Indian national law namely Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) exists since 2003 and aims at protecting all the people in our country; people still smoke in public places. Aim: This study assessed knowledge and perceptions about smoking, SHS and their support for Smoke-free laws among people residing in Mohali district, Punjab. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in Mohali district of Punjab, India. A sample size of 1600 people was obtained. Probability Proportional to Size technique was used for selecting the number of individuals to be interviewed from each block and also from urban and rural population. Statistical Analysis Used: We estimated proportions and tested for significant differences by residence, smoking status, literacy level and employment level by means of the chi-square statistics. Statistical software SPSS for Windows version 20 was used for analysing data . Results: The overall prevalence of current smoking among study participants was 25%. Around 96% were aware of the fact that smoking is harmful to health, 45% viewed second-hand smoke to be equally harmful as active smoking, 84.2% knew that smoking is prohibited in public places and 88.3% wanted the government to take strict actions to control the menace of public smoking. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that people aged 20 years and above, unemployed, urban, literate and non-smokers had significantly better perception towards harms of smoking. The knowledge about smoke free provisions of COTPA was significantly better among males, employed individuals, urban residents, and literate people. Conclusions: There was high knowledge about deleterious multi-dimensional effects of smoking among residents and a high support for implementation of COTPA. Efforts should be taken to make Mohali a "smoke-free district".