Tobacco consumption in Karnataka is on the rise while national numbers decline

Tobacco consumption in Karnataka is on the rise while national numbers decline
In another 10 years, Karnataka will have the maximum number of smokers in South India even though the total number of Indians who love their puffs will decline in the same period, according to new research by Indian public health researchers.
 
In 2015, Karnataka had approximately 18 million smokers, which may rise to 18.67 million in 2020 and 19.29 million by 2025. But for the entire country, the total number of people who took drags on their bidis and cigarettes is likely to come down from 344 million in 2015 to 303 million by 2025.
 
Using data collected by the National Sample Survey Organisation, researchers from International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai estimated the number of tobacco consumers for each state as well as for country. The study identifies new trends on tobacco consumption pattern.
 
In South India Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Goa are the places where the number of people continue to smoke would rise in the next ten years. In Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, a A declining trend has been noticed.
 
The estimated numbers in Tamil Nadu – from 15 million in 2015 to 16.5 million in 2025 – are less than Karnataka where the total number of smokers (19.29 million) is steadily moving upwards, riding on a gradual rise in the number of urban smokers.
 
On the smoke-less tobacco front, the number of consumers enhances marginally in Karnataka – from 4.5 million in 2015 to 4.8 million in 2025 whereas there is a visible dip – from 256 million to 240 million in the same period – for the country as a whole.
 
“In India, the number of attributable tobacco deaths in the late 1980s was estimated to be 630,000 per year. Currently, conservative estimates of attributable tobacco deaths are between 800,000 and 900,000 per year. The World Health Organization predicts that deaths related to tobacco in India may exceed 1.5 million annually by 2020,” the IIPS team reported in a research paper that would be published in the Journal of Cancer Policy.
 
The findings come weeks after non-governmental organisations from Karnataka wrote to the Prime Minister Nareandra Modi on the need to step up the anti-tobacco campaign.
 
“When the tobacco industry and its lobbies publicly praise the government for listening to them and taking action against organisation working for tobacco control, it damages the international image of the government by suggesting that the industry is successfully influencing these actions,” says the September 13 letter from the Consortium for Tobacco Free Karnataka.

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