Effectiveness of a Mass Media Campaign on Oral Carcinogens and Their Effects on the Oral Cavity

The objective of the present study was to develop a mass media campaign on oral carcinogens and their effects on the oral cavity in order to increase awareness among the general population. Documentary and public service announcements highlighting the effects of tobacco and its products were designed and developed based on principles of behaviour change. A questionnaire, designed to determine the knowledge, attitude and practice of people regarding oral carcinogens, was used to conduct a baseline survey at various sites in eastern Nepal. Local television channels and radio stations broadcasted the documentary and public service announcements. An evaluation survey was then performed to assess the effectiveness of the campaign. Baseline and evaluation surveys covered 1,972 and 2,140 individuals, respectively. A third of the baseline population consumed quid, 22% chewing tobacco, 16% gutka (commercial preparation of arecanut, tobacco, lime and chemicals) and 25% cigarettes. Tobacco consumption differed significantly between 3 ecologic regions with greater use in the Terai region. The knowledge prevalence regarding the oral carcinogens quid (70%), chewing tobacco (82%), gutka (58%) and cigarettes (93%) significantly increased in the evaluation population. Females were more aware about the various tobacco products and their effects on health. More people knew about the harmful effects of tobacco on their health and oral cavity, and had their mouth examined and the frequency of consumption of these products reduced significantly after the campaign. Attitudes towards production, sale and advertisements of tobacco also improved significantly. The mass media campaign was an effective tool for increasing awareness among the population.

Authors: Shrestha A, Rimal J. ; Full Source: Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention. 2018 Mar 27;19(3):819-823.

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