Tobacco and alcohol use and dependence among workers in a fish processing factory in coastal Karnataka

Muralidhar M. Kulkarni, George P. Jacob, Samir K. Praharaj, Thippeswamy Vaddar, Muthukumar Rajamohan, Aparna S. Chaudhary


Background: Tobacco and alcohol consumption are considered as major public health problems in India. Coastal areas have a considerable number of people engaged in fishing. The strenuous nature of the job, long and irregular working hours may lead to an increased rate of tobacco and alcohol consumption. Therefore, it becomes essential to assess the prevalence of tobacco and alcohol use and factors associated with it among fish factory workers.

Methods: A cross-sectional study carried out in a fish processing factory conducted for 12 months. All employees were included. A semi-structured pre-tested interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect data about the socio-demographic factors and use of tobacco and Alcohol. The level of dependence was assessed by Fagerstrom addiction and alcohol use disorders identification test. Data analysis was done using SPSS version 15. Results were expressed in terms of proportions. Chi-square test and logistic regression were performed to find an association between socio-demographic factors and tobacco and alcohol use.

Results: Among 240 individuals, 90% were males. Mean age was 28.75±9.3 years. 40% were migrants. Almost 60% had a monthly income of ≤6500 Rs. Consumption of tobacco was more common (40.4%) as compared to alcohol (32.1%). When assessed for dependence, 49.0% of tobacco had a moderate level of dependence. 72.7% of alcohol users had a low level of dependence. Unmarried, migrant young males were at higher risk of dependence.

Conclusions: Tobacco and alcohol use and their dependence is alarming. There is an urgent need to address this problem by education and also explore other feasible interventions.


Tobacco, Alcohol, Dependence, Workers, Fish processing factory

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