Smokeless tobacco use: pattern of use, knowledge and perceptions among rural Bangladeshi adolescents

Zahid Ullah, Jennifer NW Lim, Marie-Ann van Ginkel, Mostafizur Rahman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The aim of the study was to investigate the practice and pattern of smokeless tobacco (SLT) use as well as the knowledge and perception about its ill effects among rural Bangladeshi adolescents.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among students aged 13–18 years in two rural secondary schools in Bangladesh in August 2015. Data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire which consists of topics derived from the Social Cognitive Theory and Health Belief Model (personal characteristics, environmental factors, self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits, perceived barriers, and cues to action). Data analysis was performed using SPSS version 24. A descriptive analysis was conducted to determine the current pattern of SLT use and knowledge about its ill effects. A chi-square test and Fisher exact test were conducted to explore associations between variables. Lastly, a logistic regression model was used to locate the predictors for current SLT use.
Results: A total of 790 students participated in the study. Among them, 9.5% (75) had used SLT at least once and 3.7% (29) were current SLT users. Males had a higher incidence of SLT use compared with females. The majority of students (77.3%) initiated SLT use between 10–13 years of age. ‘Zarda’ was the most common type of SLT used and most of the current users (86%) were able to buy SLT without age restrictions. Most of the current users (90%) wanted to quit SLT immediately; however, professional help was not available in schools. Overall, students had a good knowledge about the harmful effects of SLT with 54.8% (428) of respondents scoring in the good knowledge category. However, the majority of never SLT users (55.4%; 396) had a good knowledge compared to ever SLT users (42.7%; 32). Significant predictors of current SLT use included being a student aged 14 years and above (OR = 6.58, 95% CI [2.23–28.31]) as well as the variables of self-efficacy (OR = 5.78, 95% CI [1.46–19.65]), perceived barriers (OR = 0.30, 95% CI [0.10–0.74]), perceived benefit (OR = 0.21, 95% CI [0.05–1.03]) and perceived severity (OR = 0.36, 95% CI [0.16–0.91]).
Discussion: This study demonstrates the need for comprehensive prevention and control programme in rural schools targeting young adolescents. Effective measure should be taken to reshape the attitude of rural adolescents towards self-confidence and competence, as to prevent SLT use.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere5463
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2018


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