Indian Journal of Community Medicine

: 2014  |  Volume : 39  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 189-

Tobacco addiction among dental students: A reality to be addressed

Vishal Khandelwal1, Sushma Khandelwal2,  
1 Department of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Index Institute of Dental Sciences, Indore, India
2 Department of Rasa Shastra, Shri Dhanwantri Ayurvedic Medical College & Research Centre, Mathura, India

Correspondence Address:
Vishal Khandelwal
Department of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Index Institute of Dental Sciences, Indore

How to cite this article:
Khandelwal V, Khandelwal S. Tobacco addiction among dental students: A reality to be addressed.Indian J Community Med 2014;39:189-189

How to cite this URL:
Khandelwal V, Khandelwal S. Tobacco addiction among dental students: A reality to be addressed. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2014 [cited 2020 Aug 4 ];39:189-189
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The use and abuse of tobacco among the youth in India has reached an alarming rate. Scientific reports of diseases and fatalities caused by the use of tobacco has been increasing steadily since the mid-1960s. [1] Smoking is a major cause of cancer, especially of the lung, larynx, oral cavity, pharynx, and oesophagus, as well as of cardiovascular diseases and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. [1],[2] The use of smokeless tobacco causes oral cancer, oesophageal cancer, and contributes to cardiovascular diseases. [2] Tobacco smoking is also associated with a high level of exposure to "second hand" smoke or passive smoking.

All health professionals occupy a responsible status in society and should educate people regarding the hazards of tobacco chewing, smoking, and also guide and advise addicted to quit the habit. [1] Their attitude and dedication to this cause is vital. They are the key workers in implementing antismoking measures and programs. Dental students should promote anti-tobacco programs among public and befall as a mentor to them. But very unfortunately these future physicians are themselves caught in the vice of smoking or chewing. As health professionals, dentists' involvement in curtailing tobacco use is critical. [3] With the increasing use of tobacco among dental students, it has become necessary to bring out significant data regarding the overall use, abuse, and addiction to tobacco and its various correlates.

A study among the undergraduate students from four dental colleges of DAVV University, Indore was undertaken and data were collected through a self-explanatory questionnaire distributed to 226 students.

This study revealed that 29% of dental students smoked cigarettes and 20% were addicted to tobacco chewing. A total of 94% of the tobacco users were male, whereas 6% of them were females. And 78% of the users of tobacco indicated that they were not addicted to the habit.

The tobacco users confessed that peer pressure (about 87%) was a major factor leading to being initiated into the use of tobacco and most of the addicted used tobacco to cope with stress (69%). Students living in hostels were particularly more susceptible to the habit, giving in to peer pressure as they spent a lot of time together. They are more susceptible to peer pressure due to lack of parental supervision and guidance as they are away from the family. The study also showed that students understood the risks of passive smoking and up to 90% agreed with banning it in public areas. A total of 12% of the addicted, attempted quitting in the past but had restarted. Dentists have the potential to make effective counsellors for tobacco abusers. But they should also set an example. Education should include teaching students the serious health consequences of tobacco use and also the dangers of exposure to second hand smoke. [4] Efforts should also be made by institutes to educate dental students to tackle stress during studies and counselling centers should be set up to help students with addictions


1US Department of Health and Human Services. The health consequences of smoking: A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of Smoking and Health, 2004.
2US Department of Health and Human Services. The health consequences of using smokeless tobacco. A report of the advisory committee to the Surgeon General. Bethesda: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Services, National Institutes of Health, 1986. NIH Publication No. 86-2874.
3Fotedar S, Sogi GM, Fotedar V, Bhushan B, Singh B, Dahiya P, et al. Knowledge of, attitude towards, and prevalence of tobacco use among dental students in Himachal Pradesh State, India. Oral Health Dent Manag 2013;12:73-9.
4Guideline on periodicity of examination, preventive dental services, anticipatory guidance/counselling, and oral treatment for infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatr Dent 2013;35:148-56.