28.2 pc people in State use tobacco: Survey

A smoker spends nearly Rs 384.10 a month on cigarettes on an average (a beedi smoker shells out Rs 126.5), according to the figures furnished by Global Adult Tobacco Survey of Karnataka for the year 2009-10.

The survey was officially released by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Tuesday.

It reveals that 28.3 per cent of adults — 39.8 per cent males and 16.3 per cent females — in the State use tobacco in some form.

Despite the compulsory pictorial and written warnings on tobacco products, the survey states that only 56.8 per cent of adults notice the warnings on cigarette packets, 88.5 per cent notice the warnings onbeedi packets.

The survey also said that among the current users, only 54.3 per cent for cigarettes, 37.1 per cent for beedis and 28.2 per cent for smokeless tobacco thought about quitting because of the warning label.

Speaking on the occasion, Shettar said the government would take note of the current findings about tobacco use and initiate necessary action.

He said the government was already screening cancer patients in the State. It is also extending free treatment to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families at Kidwai Institute of Oncology, he said. Tobacco-related cancer survivors narrated at the event their tragic stories about how they lost their voice boxes to the disease and submitted a charter of demands to the chief minister.

High-powered panel

The demands included creation of an inter-ministerial high-powered committee headed by the chief minister/chief secretary for tobacco control; banning gutka and food products containing tobacco; raising taxes on tobacco products; banning the sale of tobacco products to minors and near educational institutions; putting an end to point of sales and indirect advertising of tobacco products; determining strong policies and programmes for tobacco control in consultation with the victims of tobacco.

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