Tobacco use and related psychosocial risk factors among youth in urban India: Assessment of Project MYTRI follow-up surveys

Poonam Dhavan, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Project MYTRI (Mobilizing Youth for Tobacco-Related Initiatives in India) was a large 2-year randomized school-based trial with a goal to reduce and prevent tobacco use among students in 6th and 8th grades in Delhi and Chennai in India (n=32 schools). Baseline analyses in 2004 showed that 6th grade students reported more tobacco use than 8 th grade students, opposite of what is typically observed in developed countries like the US. The present study aims to study differences in tobacco use and psychosocial risk factors between the 6th grade cohort and 8th grade cohort, in a compliant sub-sample of control students that were present at all 3 surveys from 2004-06. Both in 2004 and 2005, 6th grade cohort reported significantly greater prevalence of ever use of all tobacco products (cigarettes, bidis, chewing tobacco, any tobacco). These significant differences in ever use of any tobacco between cohorts were maintained by gender, city and socioeconomic status. The 6th grade cohort also reported significantly greater prevalence of current use of tobacco products (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, any tobacco) in 2004. Similar findings were observed for psychosocial risk factors for tobacco use, where the 6th grade cohort scored higher risk than 8th grade cohort on scales for intentions to smoke or chew tobacco and susceptibility to smoke or chew tobacco in 2004 and 2005, and for knowledge of health effects of tobacco in all three years. The evidence of early initiation of tobacco use in our 6th grade cohort in India indicates the need to target prevention programs and other tobacco control measures from a younger age in this setting. With increasing proportions of total deaths and lost DALYs in India being attributable to chronic diseases, addressing tobacco use among younger cohorts is even more critical. Increase in tobacco use among youth is a cause for concern with respect to future burden of chronic disease and tobacco-related mortality in many developing countries. Similarly, epidemiological studies that aim to predict future death and disease burden due to tobacco should address the early age at initiation and increasing prevalence rates among younger populations.

Subject Area

Public health|Epidemiology|South Asian Studies

Recommended Citation

Dhavan, Poonam, "Tobacco use and related psychosocial risk factors among youth in urban India: Assessment of Project MYTRI follow-up surveys" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1460670.