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Delhiites least interested in quitting smoking: study

Highest attempts to quit usage of tobacco products is reported in Himachal Pradesh.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Published: July 21, 2012 10:13:55 am

People in the national capital are the least interested in stubbing out their smoking habit compared to other states in north India.

A new analysis on tobacco burden in north India has revealed that attempts to quit smoking have been the least in Delhi as compared to any other state in the region.

Launched on Friday by Joint Secretary,Health Ministry,Shakuntala Gamlin,the analysis reveals that Haryana has the maximum number of cigarette smokers who made an effort to quit at some point or the other.

While attempts to quit smoking were highest in Haryana at 34.2 per cent,Delhi recorded the least at just 12 per cent.

“This only shows that tobacco cessation clinics in Delhi are not working. Before seeking more clinics for Delhi in the 12th Five Year Plan,policy-makers must ensure that existing cessation facilities work,” said Monika Arora,Senior Director of NGO Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth.

HRIDAY along with the Public Health Foundation of India analysed the tobacco burden data for six north Indian states — Jammu and Kashmir,Punjab,Haryana,Delhi,Uttarakhand and Himachal.

The analysis found that for smokeless tobacco products,the highest attempts to quit usage were reported in Himachal Pradesh,followed by Uttrakhand at 37.8 per cent and Delhi at 8.3 per cent.

Nationally,the proportion of adults who attempted to quit smoking is 38.4 per cent and for smokeless forms it is 35.4 per cent.

The analysis further showed that the highest proportion of smokers advised to quit by health workers were in Punjab. Similarly,the highest proportion of chewing tobacco users advised to quit were in Himachal Pradesh.

Another ignominious figure that surfaced during the analysis was the high prevalence of smoking tobacco use in all north Indian states.

While nationally,the use of smokeless tobacco is twice (26 per cent) as compared to smoking tobacco use (14 per cent),the northern states buck the national trend. In the six states under consideration,overall smoking tobacco use is 13.8 per cent as against smokeless tobacco use of just 7.2 per cent.

“This means the government must follow a two-pronged strategy to prevent the use of both smokeless and smoking forms of tobacco. In northern India,cigarette and bidi smoking is much more than use of chewing tobacco. States must address this issue,” Arora said.

Ashok Kumar Walia,Minister of Health and Family Welfare,Delhi,in a written message which was read out at the launch of the analysis,said,“I am concerned to learn that almost a quarter of Delhi’s population consumes tobacco in one form or the other and over 32 per cent of the state’s population is exposed to secondhand smoke.”

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in partnership with HRIDAY and the World Health Organisation – Regional Office for South-East Asia released the analysis based on the tobacco prevalence data generated nationally by the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS).

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