1644 Smoke free cabs: assessment of impact on cab drivers and commuters; and tobacco cessation for cab drivers

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Abstract

Objectives

Tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats, killing nearly seven million people annually. With implementation of smoke free public places legislation, cabs in India are smoke free. However, large majority of the cab drivers are addicted to tobacco.

Objectives

The study objectives were to measure cab driver’s knowledge and opinion about tobacco, understand pattern of tobacco usage, provide assistance in quitting tobacco, perform oral cancer screening, measure effectiveness of smoking ban in cabs and understand perceptions of cab drivers to ban.

Methods

400 cab drivers in Mumbai were enrolled and interviewed. They were offered health education, oral cancer screening and tobacco cessation assistance at regular intervals over a year.

Results

64% cab drivers used tobacco, mainly in smokeless forms (80%). 94% intended to quit, 66% had made previous quit attempts and 70% expressed need of assistance for quitting tobacco. 62% had displayed a No Smoking sign in their cab and 75% expressed full compliance by passengers to the ban. 30% of cab drivers had oral precancerous lesions and one cab driver was diagnosed with invasive oral carcinoma. 32% of cab drivers had quit tobacco by the end of nine months and 36% cab drivers had reduced their tobacco consumption.

Conclusions

Smoke free laws are important to reduce exposure of cab drivers to second hand smoke. However, many cab drivers are themselves addicted to tobacco and hence need assistance for quitting. We demonstrated the successful implementation of tobacco control and cessation program to support the Smoke Free Laws.

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