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New survey shows health warnings have helped smokers quit

New Delhi, July 29, 2012 (PTI) 16:00 IST
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New evidence from a Government sponsored survey of tobacco use prevalent in north India has shown that health warnings helped a large majority of smokers in quitting the killer habit.

In Uttarakhand, the state with the highest overall tobacco use in north India, as many as 56.5 per cent cigarette smokers thought of quitting after seeing effective health warning labels on packages.

The trend points towards the need for enhancing the effectiveness of anti-tobacco pictorial warnings on cigarette packs. Not just in Uttarakhand, even cigarette smokers in Chandigarh found health warnings to be helpful in helping them quit. In Chandigarh, India's first smoke free city, 58 per cent adults who thought of quitting did so after reading and seeking health warnings.

"This is a significant finding. It underscores the need to have improved and stricter health warnings in cigarette packs. Under the anti-tobacco laws, the Government is supposed to rotate the pictorial health warnings on cigarettes every year," said an official of HRIDAY (Health Related Information Dissemination Among Youth) which did the analysis for the Health Ministry.

The Government did the survey in partnership with HRIDAY and the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. The analysis was based on Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) findings of 2010. The analysis was done on Uttarkahand, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.

In Uttrakhand, 30.7 per cent adults aged 15 years and above admitted to using both smoking and smokeless forms of tobacco, making the state the highest overall tobacco using state in north India.

The lowest prevalence of smoking and smokeless tobacco use was in Punjab at around 11 per cent.

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