GATS Study: Tobacco users in India have reduced by 81 lakhs

he most noticeable decline in tobacco use was amongst youngsters aged 15-24 years. Between 2010 and 2016, prevalence of tobacco among teenagers (15-17 years) shot down from 9.6 per cent to 4.4 per cent.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai | Published:June 13, 2017 10:13 am
Supreme Court tobacco, tobacco supreme court, tobacco pictorial warnings, tobacco packaging, tobacco packets, india news The most noticeable decline in tobacco use was amongst youngsters aged 15-24 years. Between 2010 and 2016, prevalence of tobacco among teenagers (15-17 years) shot down from 9.6 per cent to 4.4 per cent. (Representational)

The latest Global Adult Tobacco Survey (2016) found an overall drop in tobacco consumption from 34.6 to 28.6 per cent in India from 2010. Released by Union health ministry in Delhi on Thursday, the report highlights reduction in tobacco has been aggressive following implementation of 85 per cent pictorial warning on all tobacco products and ban on flavoured tobacco in several states.

The most noticeable decline in tobacco use was amongst youngsters aged 15-24 years. Between 2010 and 2016, prevalence of tobacco among teenagers (15-17 years) shot down from 9.6 per cent to 4.4 per cent. From 18-24 year age bracket, the prevalence reduced from 21.4 to 15.4 per cent. “This is truly heartening that consumption of tobacco has gone down significantly,” said head and neck onco-surgeon Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, who has been driving the cause for tobacco ban in India.

While passive smoking, or exposure to second hand smoke, reduced in public spaces from 29 to 23 per cent and at home from 52 to 39 per cent, work places saw a marginal rise in exposure to smoke from 29.9 to 30.2 per cent. GATS is a household survey that was conducted in 30 states and two union territories of 74,037 people aged above 15 years. It follows a global standard to monitor adult tobacco use and track key tobacco control indicators. The first such report was prepared in 2009-10. This is the second report for 2016-17, conducted by Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai.

The GATS report also shows about 10.4 crore people consume khaini, a smokeless tobacco available at low cost, followed by bidi smoking by 6.7 crore population in the country. While smoking cigarettes is prevalent amongst men, 55 per cent of smokers interviewed expressed desire to quit smoking. The National Health Policy 2017 has set a target of relative reduction of current tobacco use by 15 per cent by 2020.

In 2016, the union health ministry made pictorial warning covering by 85 per cent on tobacco products mandatory. Sale of lose cigarettes has been banned to prevent its sale. The study showed that average expenditure on purchase of cigarette has tripled for buyer from 2010. It now stands at Rs 30, while average expenditure on bidi and smokeless tobacco such as khaini, zarda and pan masala has doubled. It now stands at Rs 12.5 and Rs 12.8 respectively.

Highlights:
-19.9 crore adults in rural and 6.8 crore adult in urban areas consume tobacco
-Every fifth adult uses smokeless tobacco (khaini, zarda, pan masala) and every tenth adult smokes tobacco in form of bidi or cigarette
-3.2 crore adults use both forms of tobacco

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