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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 443-448

Patterns of smoking among oncologists of Eastern India: A questionnaire-based survey

1 Department of Radiotherapy, Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
2 Ruby Cancer Centre and HCG Hospitals, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, Medical College, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Arup Chakraborty
Department of Community Medicine, MCH Building, Fourth Floor, Medical College, 88, College Street, Kolkata, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/crst.crst_133_21

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Background: Oncologists deal with smoking-related cancers in their daily practice, and eastern India is known to be the smoking capital of India. Objective: This study was aimed at evaluating the pattern and practice of smoking among oncologists of eastern India. Materials and Methods: This was a questionnaire-based observational study conducted from April 2017 to May 2017 at the Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research in Kolkata, India. Oncologists from West Bengal were eligible to participate through a predesigned questionnaire. The questionnaire was administered to the participants through e-mail to assess the smoking pattern. The responses were received by an independent reviewer and forwarded to the investigators in a de-identified form. The data were analyzed by the investigators using simple descriptive statistical methods. Results: Out of 262 oncologists who were e-mailed the questionnaire, valid responses were received from a total of 132 (50.4%) oncologists, of which 130 (98.4%) were male and 2 (1.6%) were female. The median age of the respondents was 48 years (range, 28-72). Of these, 50 (38%) respondents were ever-smokers and 82 (62%) were never-smokers. Out of the ever-smokers (n = 50), 23 (46%) were moderate to heavy smokers; 14 (28%) were heavy smokers; 42 (84%) were current smokers; and 31 (74%) smoked daily. The median age of smoking onset was 19 years (range, 12–29), and the median duration of smoking was 78 months (range, 2-480). Peer pressure was the most common reason for smoking initiation, reported by 55% of the respondents, followed by adventure in 33%. Out of the total 76 smokers in the ever- and never-smoker groups, 43 (56.5%) attempted to quit for a median of 2 times (range, 1-6). There were 30 (69.7%) successful quitters in the group. Health concern was the most common reason to quit, whereas mental stress was the most common cause of relapse. Conclusion: Our study suggests that an alarmingly large number of oncologists from West Bengal are smokers, with the majority of them smoking daily at moderate to heavy levels.

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