Prevalence and correlates of alcohol and tobacco consumption among research scholars: evidence from a cross-sectional survey of three Indian universities

Mohd Usman, Enu Anand, Saddaf Naaz Akhtar, Srikanth Reddy Umenthala, Tarique Anwar, Sayeed Unisa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Alcohol and tobacco consumption are significant public health concerns and considered some of the riskiest behaviors among students. Despite strong indications of heavy consumption of these substances, certain sections of the student population remain unexplored regarding their consumption patterns and associated factors, including research scholars pursuing Doctor of Philosophy degrees. This study aims to explore the patterns and correlations of consumption of alcohol and tobacco among doctoral students in three Indian universities. Design/methodology/approach: A cross-sectional study was conducted on a total of 530 scholars from three central universities, Aligarh Muslim University, Banaras Hindu University and Jawahar Lal Nehru University, and focused on two substances (alcohol and tobacco) frequently used by students in India. Bi-variate analysis and penalized logistic regressions were applied to analyse the prevalence and associated factors of alcohol, smoking and smokeless tobacco among doctoral students. Findings: Tobacco consumption was observed to be the dominant form of substance use among doctoral students. Findings revealed that 34% of scholars smoked and 25% consumed smokeless tobacco daily and around 14% consumed alcohol at least once a week. Major significant correlates of substance consumption among scholars were found to be gender, religion, parental mortality, dissatisfaction with academic performance and stress about future career/employment. Significant variation in substance use patterns was observed among universities. Originality/value: This study provides first-hand evidence on substance use patterns and the correlates among doctoral students in three Indian universities. Findings indicate the implementation of specific intervention programs for mental health and counselling for this section of students to prevent substance use addiction would be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-155
Number of pages16
JournalDrugs, Habits and Social Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2022


  • Alcohol
  • Penalized logistic regression
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco
  • University students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Health(social science)


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