Tobacco use among adolescents in Maharashtra has doubled in seven years: Study
Consumption in the 15 to 17 age group has risen from 2.9% to 5.5% as per the second Global Adult Tobacco Surveymumbai Updated: Dec 09, 2017 14:36 IST
Although Maharashtra witnessed an overall drop in tobacco consumption by 4.1%, the number of women and adolescents using tobacco has increased. The worrisome statistics were revealed by the second Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS2), which was released at Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) on Friday.
One of the worrisome findings, according to experts, was that tobacco consumption among adolescents [15 to 17 years] has increased from 2.9% to 5.5% in the last seven years despite a national decline of 50%.
The tobacco consumption in the state decreased from 31.4% in 2006-2007 to 26.6% in 2016-2017.While the decrease in the overall consumption is hailed as ‘victory’ for the state’s anti-tobacco campaign, as Maharashtra has the lowest prevalence compared to other states. The survey was conducted between November and December 2016, during which 1,517 men and 1,624 women were interviewed.
Sulabha Parasuraman, consultant, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar, who led the survey said the number of people who smoke tobacco is 24.9 million in the state, which is high as compared to other states. “The reason that the numbers are high despite the drop in consumption is because of the state’s population, of which 89% smoke tobacco daily,” she said.
Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, head and neck surgeon, TMH, said the increase in tobacco consumption among adolescents is a matter of great concern, as they are at risk of developing cancer in the most ‘economically productive’ years of their lives.
“These people, especially who consume chewing tobacco are at risk of developing cancer in the seven years. At TMH, most patients with oral cancer are in the age-group of 25 to 27 years, which indicates that they may have started consuming tobacco at a young age,” he said.
Additionally, the findings showed that the average age, at which people initiate smoking in the state has decreased from 18 to 17 years, while at the national level, it increased by a year.
“It is shameful that the trend in the state shows that people are initiating smoking at the younger age in the state compared to the rest of the country,” Chaturvedi added.
Another startling finding was that consumption of tobacco among women increased from almost negligible to 1% in the past seven years.
“While both men and women have the same predisposition of developing cancer, smoking in women, can eventually lead to premature delivery and still birth, when they deliver,” said Dr PC Gupta, director, Healis-Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health.