96% school students chew chalia: survey

Karachi: Child Aid Association of National Institute of Child Health NICH Karachi under its awareness and prevention program about cancer in children conducted a citywide survey about chewing health hazard substances and smoking habits among school going children in which it revealed that 96 percent students were found to be in the habit of chewing chalia girls 60% and boys 40% in Karachi.

The team of social workers finalized the survey of 116 government and private schools this year. These schools were located in various districts of Karachi. These schools are run by city and district governments, Sindh Education Foundation, various societies and private individuals. These visits of were facilitated by Chief Operating Officer CMIS & Coordinator Education Foundation Farhana Iqbal and Chairman Private School Association Sindh Sayed Khadim Shah.

About 28,239 students of age group 4 to 16 years 46% boys and 54% girls of 116 schools of the city were asked about their habits of chewing chalia, pan, gutka, smoking cigarettes and sheesha substance known to produce cancer in students through interviews, quiz and printed material. The result of survey is an eye opener for health authorities as well as for parents and other segments of the society.

The survey report showed that 73 percent girls and 23 percent boys were also chewing pan containing chalia, habit of chewing gutka was noted in 2.2 percent of the group, predominantly the boy’s chewed gutka. The cigarette smoking was noted only in boys constituting 0.6 percent of the group. Similarly, the habit of sheesha smoking was noted in 0.4 percent of the group girls 60% and boy 40%.

As per report of district wise habit of chewing chalia, pan, gutka, smoking cigarettes and sheesha in students the Karachi West is on top, followed by Malir, South, East and Central.

A sample survey was conducted in 11 schools. About 3,009 students were again interviewed regarding their chewing habit of chalia, pan, gutka, smoking cigarettes and sheesha. Resultantly, students’ habits declined by 3.9% for chewing chalia.

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