Background and Context:
In the Indian subcontinent the tobacco habit includes tobacco smoking, chewing, rubbing and plugging. This results in cancers of the oral cavity, throat, larynx, and the food pipe, in addition to lung. A majority of cancer deaths in India are tobacco-related. However this is not well understood by the common public.
Aim: To halt the occurrence of oral cancer by user-driven education
Strategy/Tactics:Communicating relevant information in a way that the target population understands is the first prerequisite to motivate people to give up or not to take up the use of tobacco in any form. This information has to be tailored according to the lifestyle and the beliefs of the people and also has to be customized to different demographic groups. Additional factors found to aid motivation for education are:
Programme/Policy Process:1. Those promoting health should not practice ill health themselves (like those helping to quit tobacco should not use it themselves).
2. Be positive, stressing on advantages of a healthy life.
3. Offer choices to move to a healthy life-style like choosing a less-threatening way to give up the use of tobacco by staggering the first use rather than cold-turkey.
4. Make support and help to deal with withdrawal readily available.
5. Stress that withdrawal is a temporary phase lasting for a few days.
6. Be ready with individualized cessation schedule if they ask for.
7. Applaud them for their effort.
8. Reinforce advantages of quitting
This methodology was developed by conducting formative research and was first tried and tested in a large-scale project which will be used as a demonstration.
Outcomes/What was learned: This strategy brought down significantly the occurrence of pre-cancerous lesions and oral cancer