Determinants of Tobacco Use and Prevalence of Oral Precancerous Lesions in Cab Drivers in Bengaluru City, India

Punith Shetty, Naveen Chandrahas Khargekar, Arpan Debnath, Nitin Ravindra Khargekar, B. K. Srivastava, Naz E Farha Hakeen


Background: Tobacco is a most important risk factor for various types of cancer as well as some noncommunicable disease. Around 34.6% of Indian population consume tobacco. The tobacco consumption is higher in some vulnerable population such as drivers, daily wage laborers, and
policemen. Tobacco consumption is known to cause oral cancers, and screening for oral cancer in these individuals is known to reduce mortality from cancer. The study was designed to assess the determinants of tobacco use and the prevalence of oral precancerous lesions in cab drivers.

Methods: This is a cross‑sectional study among cab drivers at prepaid taxi counters in Bengaluru city. A total of 450 cab drivers were enrolled in the study, of which 225 cab drivers were interviewed during morning hours and remaining half at night time using a semi‑structured questionnaire. All
were screened for oral cancer/precancerous lesions.

Results: Nearly 70.88% of cab drivers were consuming tobacco in any form. Long working hours, working at night, and family members consuming tobacco were signifcant risk factors for tobacco use among cab drivers. Forty‑eight drivers were detected to have oral precancerous lesions.

Conclusions: It was very evident that long hours of driving and infrequent shifts played a greater role in acquiring the habit. Behavioral counseling and new laws need to be formed to limit the working hours in drivers to have an effective tobacco control.

Keywords: Early detection of cancer, leukoplakia, tobacco use disorder

Full Text: