Over 60 pc prefer tobacco to bed coffee or tea

Number of women tobacco users in the country is on the rise: report

 Among daily tobacco users, 60.2 per cent consumed tobacco within half an hour of waking up, says the first Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) – India 2010 report, released on Tuesday. It also has another alarming information—that the number of women tobacco users in the country is on a rise.

The report makes it amply clear why tobacco is one of the biggest public health threat in India, killing more than 9,00,000 people annually. Tobacco use is a major preventable cause of death and disease causing one in 10 deaths among adults worldwide. Approximately 55 lakh die every year globally.

Even though the prevalence of smoking is still low among Indian women, those who smoke light up more cigarettes than their male counterparts. The frequency of cigarettes smoked per day among female smokers is seven per day and is higher than the male count of 6.1.

Comparison

A comparison between those who smoke half-a-packet to one-and-half packets of cigarettes a day shows women are ahead of their male counterparts. But from among the 5.7 per cent of adult smokers in India, 10.3 per cent are men and 0.8 per cent women.

The average age of first timers is 17.8, with 25.8 per cent of women starting tobacco use before 15—a trend possibly in sync with the western lifestyle.

Even though India has an anti-smoking law in place, minors (aged between 15 and 17) admitted they had no problem in buying tobacco products in the market. Close to 10 per cent of the minors use tobacco in some form or the other.

In India, majority of cardiovascular diseases, cancers and chronic lung diseases are directly attributed to tobacco consumption and almost 40 per cent of tuberculosis deaths is caused by smoking.

Homes are equally dangerous for non-smokers. “About five in 10 adults are exposed to second-hand smoke at home and 29 per cent at public transport and restaurants,” says the report.

Highlighting the need to further strengthen the Tobacco Act, the report—prepared by the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai with assistance from World Health Organisation and Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta—suggests establishment of an implementation and regulatory structure at both the national and the state level.

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