81L Indians quit tobacco in 7 yrs

81L Indians quit tobacco in 7 yrs

Almost 81 lakh Indians quit tobacco in the last seven years, showcasing the impact of anti-tobacco campaigns.

The campaigns, however, had only a limited reach among the people from a poor socio-economic background as khaini (smokeless tobacco) and bidi continue to rule the roost in small towns and countryside, the first set of results from India’s biggest tobacco survey suggested.

Tobacco use decreased by 6% between 2009-10 and 2016-17, said the India-specific report from the second round of Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2). In 2009-10, as many as 34.6% Indians consumed tobacco. The number came down to 28.6% in 2016-17.

Several people admitted that they wished to quit tobacco consumption after seeing the warning message and picture on the packets.

The drop was seen in both (smoking and smokeless) categories, but the extent of fall varied. For instance, among the woman consumers of smokeless tobacco, the number dropped sharply from 18.4% in 2009-10 to 12.8% in 2016-17. But among the men, the reduction was less prominent – from 32.9% to 29.6%.

The GATS is an international standard survey for systematically monitoring adult tobacco use and tracking key tobacco control indicators. It is a household survey of people aged 15 and above, conducted in 30 states and two Union territories.

The researchers from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, interviewed as many as 74,037 individuals between August 2016 and February 2017 for the survey. The full report with state-specific details is expected in a couple of months.

The National Health Policy 2017 has set the target of “relative reduction in the prevalence of current tobacco use - by 15% in 2020 and 30% in 2025”.

With a relative reduction of 17% in prevalence of current tobacco use since GATS-1, the new survey showed that tobacco control programmes are on track.

“The reduction is due to the tobacco control law and steps such as 85% graphic health warnings, smoke-free rules, gutka ban and higher tobacco taxes in some of the states,” said Bhavna Mukhopadhyay, chief executive of the Voluntary Health Association of India.

There is a 6% reduction in the exposure to secondhand smoke at public places. According to the survey, the average money spent by an individual on his/her last purchase of cigarette, bidi and smokeless tobacco is Rs 30, Rs 12.5 and Rs 12.8, respectively.

The expenditure on cigarette has tripled and that on bidi and smokeless tobacco doubled since the last survey.
DH News Service

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