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Prim Dent Care. 2005 Jan;12(1):5-10.

A comparison of attitudes and practices of gutka users and non-users in Chitrakoot, India. A pilot.

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  • 1Leeds Dental Institute, Leeds, UK.



As part of a student elective, this pilot study aimed at investigating attitudes and practices concerning gutka use in a town in India. It was hoped that information gained would assist in formulating an appropriate health education programme to encourage gutka cessation locally and would provide more information about a habit which is also relevant to some UK South Asian populations.


124 consecutively attending subjects (103 males and 21 females) at a charity-run dental clinic in Chitrakoot, India, were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire.


57 (46%) of the respondents, of whom there were more males than females (103 v. 21), reported current gutka use. There were no differences between users and non-users by age or educational attainment. Users found gutka 'helpful' in relieving tension, aiding con- centration, combating bad breath and as a leisure activity. They all cited other family members who were using gutka as compared to only 40% of the gutka non-users. Cancer was mentioned as a harmful outcome of gutka use more frequently by non-users. Of the 57 gutka chewers, 36 also chewed paan with tobacco and 20 smoked cigarettes.


Gutka chewing involved almost half of the study population and proportionately more males than females. The habit was endemic within families. Many gutka chewers also smoked, chewed paan or drank alcohol, representing a high-risk behaviour for oral cancer. Proportionately more non-chewers were aware of the link with cancer. There are clear implications for health promotion in India. General dental practitioners in the UK should also be aware of the possibility that this habit is becoming more widely adopted in South Asian communities here, involving young children as well as adults. Research into gutka use is also required in the UK.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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