Karachi: People of South Asian-origin are responsible for more than three quarters of all smokeless tobacco – chewing and sniffing tobacco,gutka, naswar, betel quid or paan, and tobacco gum – consumption worldwide.
Researchers – including Drs Javaid A. Khan, Muhammad Irfan and Maryam Hassan from Aga Khan University – recently designed an intervention to support South Asians in quitting smokeless tobacco and then evaluated its feasibility in Pakistan and the UK.
The intervention activities included raising awareness of the harms of smokeless tobacco use and benefits of quitting, boosting users’ motivation and self-efficacy, and developing strategies to manage their triggers, withdrawal symptoms, and relapse should that occur.
Users were receptive to health messages but most reported smokeless tobacco reduction rather than complete cessation.
The researchers found that betel quid or paan and gutka were the common forms of smokeless tobacco used in Pakistan. They also noticed that Pakistani people were more smokeless tobacco dependent than those in the UK.
“We developed a theory-based intervention for this study, which now needs to be evaluated in an effectiveness trial,” said Dr Javaid A. Khan, Professor of Medicine, Aga Khan University and one of the authors.
Other researchers included Kamran Siddiqi, Omara Dogar, Cath Jackson and Nancy O’Neill from University of York; Rukhsana Rashid from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Ian Kellar from University of Leeds; Furqan Ahmed from Cameos Consultants; and Heather Thomson from Leeds City Council.