A SURVEY of more than 30,000 students from across 55 colleges in the City has revealed disturbing information about tobacco consumption and smoking among youth.
As many as 22.76 per cent youth from the total of youngsters surveyed were found to be tobacco chewers while those who smoke cigarettes were 17.98 per cent, comprising both boys and girls.
This alarming information was revealed in the comprehensive survey carried out by 400 members of the Dental Students’ Welfare Association during September 2006 to January 2007.
A total of 31,464 students from 55 colleges across the City were surveyed to learn their tobacco consumption patterns. The colleges surveyed included all categories ranging from arts faculty to commerce, management, engineering and also medical and dental students.
The highest number of smokers - 35 per cent - was found in two colleges, of which one had more than 2,100 students. There were seven other colleges with as much as 30 per cent cigarette smoking students from among those surveyed.
The highest number of tobacco using students - 42 per cent - was in a prestigious college with as many as 1,600 students involved in the survey. Eight other colleges reported 40 per cent students using gutka or similar tobacco products.
However, the average number in both cases was offset by some colleges, particularly girls colleges, which showed either zero or less than five per cent tobacco consumption. Two girls’ college students showed zero per cent tobacco consumption, but there were one per cent and two per cent girls from the same lot who declared themselves as cigarette smokers during the survey.
The irony of the survey is that 100 per cent of the students surveyed said they are aware about the bad effects of tobacco and that cigarette smoking could lead to cancer.
According to chairman of the Dental Students’ Welfare Association Dr Chandresh Shukla, “Even we are disturbed at our own survey findings. We now plan to carry out a sustained campaign to create awareness through various activities like poster competition.”
The Association also plans to conduct weeklong programmes for motivating people, particularly students, and appealing to them not to smoke. “We would concentrate on the younger age group, which is, hopefully still not exposed to such vices,” Dr Shukla said.
Citing the government notification (since December 2004) that sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products was banned within 100 metres radius of educational institutions all across the country, he said, “We have tried to convince the school and college managements to remove from their doors small time hawkers and vendors selling tobacco products, but in vain.
Now we plan to approach the Collector for remedial measures.” The survey involved students from 55 colleges out of the roughly 80-odd colleges in the City, that’s more than 65 per cent colleges covered.
Student life is supposed to be the foundation of the future and whatever habits one acquires make a lasting impression. Unfortunately, going by what college students in Indore are indulging in, the future seems smoky.