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INDIAN JOURNAL OF HEALTH STUDIES - Volume 3 Issue 1, January 2021

Pages: 19-32

Date of Publication: 31-Jan-2021

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Impact of Visual Exposure to Personal Oral Condition on Tobacco Abstinence Intent

Author: Anupama Ivatur, Shalini Gupta

Category: Health Studies


The association between tobacco consumption and oral cancer has been scientifically proven by studies across the globe. The health communication related to this has been intense and wide. Yet, its impact on this health risk behaviour appears to be suboptimal. One of the reasons could be the lack of power in the communication. When the communication is designed with an element of personal relevance, the threat appraisal is likely to be invoked, which in turn leads to motivating the person towards abstinence. Tobacco abstinence intent is influenced by multiple factors. Pictorial pack warnings are generic and may lead to avoidance of exposure to the warning. However, brief exposure to personal oral condition as against the generic pack warnings, could serve as an adjunct to persuasive communication strategies to enhance abstinence intent. The impact of exposure to personal oral condition on tobacco abstinence intent was studied on patients visiting a tertiary dental hospital in New Delhi, India. Results indicated that 35% of users were unaware of the risks and 77% did not practice oral self-examination. A close association between the exposure to pictures of one’s own mouth and the intent to quit tobacco consumption was observed. About 85% individuals expressed abstinence intent, immediate post-test. Change in the policy of pictorial warnings and public health education on tobacco consumption are discussed. Self-oral examination, particularly by tobacco users is recommended as an adjunct.

Keywords: self-oral examination, tobacco abstinence

DOI: 10.56490/IJHS.2021.3102