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Tobacco use and nicotine dependency in a cross-sectional representative sample of 18,018 individuals in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India

Sathya Prakash Manimunda12*, Vivek Benegal3, Attayuru Purushottaman Sugunan1, Panniyammakal Jeemon245, Nagalla Balakrishna6, Kandavelu Thennarusu3, Dhanasekara Pandian3 and Kasturi S Pesala7

Author Affiliations

1 Regional Medical Research Centre (ICMR), Port Blair-744101, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India

2 Current address: Centre for Chronic Disease Control, Safdarjung Development Area, New Delhi-110016, India

3 National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore-560029, Karnataka, India

4 Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

5 Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi-110016, India

6 National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad-500007, Andhra Pradesh, India

7 Indira Gandhi National Open University, Port Blair-744101, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:515  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-515

Published: 10 July 2012



Data on prevalence, pattern of tobacco use, proportion of population dependent on nicotine and their determinants are important for developing and implementing tobacco control strategies. The aim of the study was to estimate the prevalence and determinants of tobacco use and nicotine dependency.


A cross-sectional survey among a representative sample of 18,018 individuals in the age group of >=14 years was conducted in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands during 2007–09. A structured questionnaire, a modified version of an instrument which was used successfully in several multi-country epidemiological studies of the World Health Organisation, was used to survey individual socio-demographic details, known co-morbid conditions, tobacco use and alcohol use. Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND) was used to estimate nicotine dependence.


The response rate of our survey was 97% (18,018/18,554). Females (n = 8,888) were significantly younger than males (34.3 

 14.6 Vs 36.2 
 15.4 years). The prevalence of current tobacco use in any form was 48.9% (95% CI: 48.2–49.6). Tobacco chewing alone was prevalent in 40.9% (95% CI: 40.1–41.6) of the population. While one tenth of males (9.7%, 95% CI: 9.1–10.4) were nicotine dependent, it was only 3% (95% CI: 2.7–3.4) in females. Three fourth of the tobacco users initiated use of tobacco before reaching 21 years of age. Age, current use of alcohol, poor educational status, marital status, social groups, and co-morbidities were the main determinants of tobacco use and nicotine dependence in the population.


The high prevalence of tobacco use especially the chewing form of tobacco in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the differences in prevalence and pattern of tobacco use and nicotine dependency observed across subgroups warrants implementation of culturally specific tobacco control activities in this population.