Kannur: Oral mucosal lesions are highly prevalent in the users of chewing tobacco among migrant workers in Kerala, a study revealed here.
Oral mucosal lesions (OML) were seen in 36.3 percent of the participants and among chewing or smokeless tobacco users, 44.6 percent had lesions.
The study led by OP Aslesh from the Academy of Medical Sciences, Kannur began in 2013. It was carried out among male migrant workers, most of them are under 30 years of age working in factories in parts of Kannur district.
The study showed that the prevalence of use of chewing tobacco product was 71.7 percent among the male migrant workers in the area, which was over five times more than among all the entire male population of Kerala as shown in the global adult tobacco use survey in 2010.
(Also Read: 36% rise in number of male smokers in India)
The sale of chewing tobacco has been banned in the state since May 2012. However, the study revealed that in spite of the ban, the use was high among male migrants.
Oral mucosal lesions like leukoplakia, erythroplakia and sub-mucous fibrosis are considered as precancerous lesions associated with the use of tobacco. This known fact has again been found true in the study.
According to the Kerala government’s estimates, there are around 2.5 million migrant workers mostly from North Indian states, West Bengal and the northeast.
Aslesh’s team found out that the prevalence of current use of smoked tobacco, chewing tobacco and alcohol use were respectively41.8 percent, 71.7 percent and 56.6 percent among migrants.
Oral cancer is the second most common cancer among males in India and the main cause attributed to this is the use of chewing tobacco besides alcohol consumption.
Among the current smokers, 90.2 percent use cigarettes only, 4.5 percent use beedi only and 5.4 percent use both.
Among the current users of chewing tobacco, 37.7 percent were using products containing plain tobacco leaves. Khaini was used by 26.9 percent, pan masala by 28 percent, zarda by 6.1 percent and gutka by 2.9 percent. These are chemically treated areca nut products with or without tobacco.
The practice of chewing tobacco was seen in 77.9 per cent of migrants from Uttar Pradesh and 70.1 percent from Bihar.