Maharashtra has replaced Goa in lowest prevalence of tobacco smoking, a 2016-17 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2) has found. The survey was done on 74,037 people in country, including 3,141 from Maharashtra. From 2009-10 to 2016-17, Maharashtra’s smoking prevalence dropped to 3.8 per cent, followed by Goa, which is at 4.2 per cent.
The findings of GATS for Maharashtra were released by state health minister on Friday at Tata Memorial Hospital.
While the tobacco prevalence has dipped from 31.4 to 26.6 among adults in the last seven years across the state, what is worrying is rise in number of teenagers consuming tobacco products. The latest GATS study found that during the period of 2010 to 2017, tobacco consumption has risen from 2.9 per cent to 5.5 per cent among youngsters aged between 15-17. National figures, however, shows a decline in youngsters taking to tobacco.
Across Maharashtra, 24 million people are estimated to consume tobacco.
“State is lacking in implementation of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA). We need to understand if stress is driving youngsters towards tobacco or is it fascination. I see IT and banking professionals inclined more towards smoking,” said state health minister Deepak Sawant.
The latest GATS survey, carried between August 2016 and February 2017, surveyed 1,624 women and 1,517 men in the state. It was found that one in three men and one in six women consume tobacco. The age of initiation into tobacco consumption is also decreasing to 15 year old, despite a collective fall in tobacco intake.
A state tobacco control committee has been set up to bring tobacco consumption down by 30 per cent. But those consuming smokeless tobacco— areca nut, khaini, zarda, pan masala— are much higher with 31.7 per cent men and 24.4 per cent women found habitual of it in Maharashtra.
Khaini and gutka, specifically, are most commonly used, with 15.5 per cent and 8.6 per cent adults consuming it respectively. Despite a ban, Khaini’s consumption has increased from 14.5 to 15.5 per cent in the last seven years amongst other smokeless tobacco.
“What is significant is increase in average monthly spending on cigarettes and bidis. It is majorly due to increase in taxation,” said Sulabha Parasuraman, who headed the survey with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). From 2010, monthly expenditure on cigarette has risen from Rs 778 to Rs 1028, and for bidis, from Rs 170 to Rs 255.
“It is necessary for schools to be sensitised. The global target is reduction consumption by 30 per cent by 2025,” said Dr Sadhana Tayade, joint director, Directorate of Health Services.