Tobacco use, knowledge of tobacco health effects and perceptions towards tobacco control among tobacco growers in Kihiihi Sub-County, Kanungu District
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Introduction: Uganda is one of the developing countries experiencing an increasing trend in tobacco consumption, as well as, an increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that exemplify poor lifestyle changes. However, little is known about the general pattern of tobacco production and consumption among population groups that are more prone to tobacco consumption and suffer the most from NCDs such as hypertension, cancers, respiratory diseases and asthma among other diseases. Objective: To assess prevalence of tobacco use, knowledge of tobacco related diseases and willingness to diversify from tobacco cultivation among tobacco growers in Kihiihi sub-county, Kanungu District in order to generate baseline information, which will be used to design appropriate public health interventions. Methods: In May 2013, a cross-sectional household survey was conducted in 12 randomly selected villages of Kihiihi sub-county, in Kanungu District, Western Uganda. A total of 528 households that grow tobacco were sampled. Respondents aged 18 years and older were interviewed using a semi-structured interviewer questionnaire instrument. Univariate and multivariate analysis were done to determine the proportions of tobacco growers that used tobacco, their knowledge of tobacco related health effects as well as their willingness to change from tobacco growing. Results: Overall, 86(16.3%) of the study subjects were consumers of tobacco through smoking, chewing or smoking the pipe. Seventy seven (89.5%) are males and 9 (10.5%) women. Level of knowledge about tobacco related health effects was 286 (54.2%) and 73% of tobacco growers are less likely to be willing to crop diversify. Conclusion: The present study provides evidence that can be used to increase public awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco growing and emic suggestions from tobacco farmers about what is needed from governments in order to safeguard their livelihoods if firm decisions are made regarding tobacco control and crop diversification.
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