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Tobacco use up among women

Women using tobacco in India have doubled in five years, from 11.5 per cent in 2005 to 20.3 per cent in 2010, while it dropped in men from 57.6 per cent to 47.9 per cent in the same period, shows Global Adult Tobacco Survey data for India released by Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday. HT reports. Smoke signals

delhi Updated: Oct 20, 2010 01:55 IST
HT Correspondent

Women using tobacco in India have doubled in five years, from 11.5 per cent in 2005 to 20.3 per cent in 2010, while it dropped in men from 57.6 per cent to 47.9 per cent in the same period, shows Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) data for India released by Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday.

The study found one in three - 34.6 per cent - adults use tobacco, of which the chewing form accounts for 25.9 per cent. Cigarettes were the least popular form of tobacco, with only 5.7 per cent people - 10.3 per cent men and 0.8 per cent women - smoking cigarettes.

Of India's 274.9 million tobacco users, 163.7 million chew it and 68.9 million smoke it.

The data, collected from 70,000 people across 29 states and two Union territories, showed Mizoram had the highest number of tobacco users, with 67 per cent of its population addicted to it. Goa had the lowest at 9 per cent.

Addiction starts young, with two in five regular users saying they had started before the age of 18, with 25.8 per cent women users starting before the age of 15.

"In India there's a high prevalence of smokeless forms of using tobacco like chewing, which is at an all-time high according to our survey," said Krishna Mohan Palipudi, senior survey statistician, CDC.

"Pictoral warnings currently being used on the tobacco products are not effective. New ones are in the pre-testing stage. In the next six to nine months, we should be ready with the changes," said Dr D N Sinha, technical officer, tobacco free initiative, WHO.

Providing tobacco farmers with alternate livelihoods is also high on the agenda.

"About 5.5 billion bidi workers have been engaged in this profession for many generations. We are thinking of offering them alternative crops or moving them to another profession," said Azad.

The survey as done in collaboration with International Institute of Population Sciences, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organisation, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Research Triangle Institute International.

Smoke signals