Tobacco use among medical professionals in Kerala, India: The need for enhanced tobacco cessation and control efforts

Sailesh Mohan, A. S. Pradeepkumar, C. U. Thresia, K. R. Thankappan, W. S.C. Poston, C. K. Haddock, Megan M. Pinkston, Myra L. Muramoto, Mimi Nichter, Mark Nichter, Harry A. Lando

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


In developing nations where reductions in tobacco use have not been realized, it is critical that health professionals be encouraged to abstain from tobacco use. Data on tobacco use among health professionals in India are limited. We conducted cross-sectional surveys among 110 male medical school faculty (MSF), 229 physicians (67% male), 1130 medical students (46% male), and 73 female nursing students. Information on tobacco use and quit attempts was collected using structured questionnaires. Among the male respondents, current smokers were 15.1% of MSF, 13.1% of physicians, and 14.1% of medical students. Among current smokers, 42% of MSF and physicians and 51% of medical students had not attempted quitting in the last year. However, one third of MSF and physicians and 16% of medical students had attempted to quit at least 4 times. This is one of the first studies among health care professionals in India. Our findings show that a substantial proportion of physicians and medical students in Kerala continue to smoke. Smoking cessation programs are warranted in medical schools in Kerala. An initiative is presently underway by the authors to incorporate tobacco education into the medical school curriculum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2313-2318
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research project entitled “Quit Tobacco International: India and Indonesia” is supported by a grant (NIH Grant #R01 TW005969) to the University of Minnesota (Harry A. Lando, Principal Investigator) from the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health, USA. The authors are also thankful to all the participants, Professor Jeesha C. Haran, Department of Community Medicine, Medical College, Trivandrum, and Mr. P. Gopalakrishnan, Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Medical College, Alappuzha, India for their cooperation in the conduct of the study.


  • India
  • Kerala
  • Medical professionals
  • Physicians
  • Tobacco education
  • Tobacco use


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