Punjab has lowest tobacco use, North-East highest

Tobacco India Report: Highlights

* 52 % adults exposed to second hand smoke at home, highest in J&K (68 pc), lowest in Chandigarh (15 pc); 29 pc exposed in public places
* Cigarette smokers’ monthly expense Rs 400 as against Rs 94 for bidi smokers.
* Monthly cigarette expenditure highest in Arunachal (Rs 1,265), lowest in Jharkhand (Rs 181.70)
* Mizoram has highest tobacco use (67 pc), while Goa (9 pc), Punjab (12 pc), Chandigarh (14 pc) have lowest
* Mizo women most addicted (62 pc use tobacco) as against least addicted in Punjab (under 1 pc), Chandigarh, Himachal and Goa (under 5 pc)
* Most tobacco use in East (45 pc), Northeast (44 pc), lowest in North (19 pc)

New Delhi, October 19
India’s obsession with tobacco continues despite laws to tell the users of its lethal consequences. Though 64 per cent of all adults believe tobacco leads to heart attacks, 35 per cent (one-third) continue to consume tobacco in some form or the other.

An average Indian starts tobacco use at 17.8 years, the initiation age being the lowest, 14.9 in Chhattisgarh and the highest-20.4 years- in Himachal. Over 60 per cent daily tobacco users are so addicted that they want tobacco within half an hour of waking up, concludes the 2009-2010 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) for India, conducted on 99.9 per cent of India’s population in 29 states, UTs of Chandigarh and Puducherry.

The survey findings, released by Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today, state that India houses 274. 9 million tobacco users; 84 per cent (231.9 million) of these are daily users-that’s the population of Indonesia. While 14 per cent adults are smokers, 25.9 per cent use smokeless forms, the highest (12 per cent) use being of a tobacco-lime mixture (khaini), followed by 8 per cent use of areca nut. Nine per cent of all smokers use bidis, 6 per cent use cigarettes, 1 per cent hookahs.

Though overall tobacco prevalence is lesser in females (20.3 per cent) as against males (47.9) so is overall cigarette use (2.9 per cent females smoke as against 24.3 per cent men), the fair sex is much more nicotine dependent than men. Cigarettes smoked a day, which is an indicator of nicotine addiction, is much higher for females who consume 7 cigarettes a day while men smoke 6.2. Urban male smokers smoke a higher number of cigarettes (6.4) than their rural counterparts (6), but female cigarette smokers in rural areas beat urban females by consuming 7.2 cigarettes a day against 5.8 sticks a day in cities.

In cigarette smoking, women beat males by age too: Boys aged 15 to 24 smoke 4.8 cigarettes a day; girls puff 9 a day. Men aged 25 to 44 smoke 6 cigarettes a day while women that age consume 8.4 sticks a day. Even beyond 65 years, males are smoking 6.3 cigarettes a day but women want 7.9 a day. Further, working males (government/private sectors) smoke lesser cigarettes a day (6.3) than their female counterparts (7.6).

By regions, the North-east leads the cigarette-smoking pack, consuming 8.5 cigarettes a day (Meghalaya is the smokiest Indian city and puffs 14.8 cigarettes a day). The North seems more interested in bidis than cigarettes. So where Uttarakhand and Haryana have the lowest cigarette smoking frequency in India at 4.3 and 4.9 cigarettes a day, respectively, they consume 10.7 and 11.1 bidi sticks a day, respectively. Daily cigarettes smoked in Chandigarh are also less -- 6.4, Punjab 7.7; Himachal 4.8 and Jammu and Kashmir 7.6 but respective bidi consumption in these areas is 12.8, 10.7, 9.5, 10.7 a day.

GATS (conducted by Health Ministry and Indian Institute of Population Sciences, Mumbai) shows the mean frequency of bidi smoking (10.9 sticks a day) in north is higher than cigarette smoking (6.8). South India consumes the most bidis (13.4 sticks a day), with Karnataka leading the pack at 16.5 bidis smoked per day.