Women Exposed to Smoking
At least 49% men and 17% women use tobacco in some form or the other in Uttar Pradesh. The use of tobacco through gutkha and bidis is higher in comparison to cigarettes. However, the worrisome part is that 66.1% women and 59.7% women are exposed to harmful passive smoking. These facts have been revealed in the adult tobacco survey done in UP by the Union ministry of health and family welfare, World Health Organisation with support from other key health agencies. The survey report was released in Lucknow on Monday by dean, the College of Surgeons of India Dr Rama Kant.
The report revealed that 35.4% men intake tobacco through gutkha and 23.9% men intake tobacco through cigarettes or bidis. Similarly, 13.7% women take gutkha in comparison to 4.6%, who prefer bidis and cigarettes. Number of bidi smokers is five times more than cigarettes smokers (20.1% bidi vs 4.1% cigarette). Among women, bidi smoking is nearly 18 times more than cigarette. Overall bidis (12.4%) are 5.5 times more popular than cigarettes (2.3%)
More women (66.1%) than men (59.7%) are exposed to secondhand smoke at home. Around 29% people surveyed reported being exposed to second hand smoke at work place and an equal number at public place (government buildings, healthcare facilities, restaurants, or through public transportation) – despite a ban. This also brings out how weakly the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (2003) is being implemented in UP, which bans smoking in public places.
Nearly 85% tobacco users know that it is dangerous, but they continue to do so. Interestingly, 51% of total smokers thought about quitting but could not do so. Nearly, 44% of smokers made an attempt to quit but failed. Around 39% were advised by doctors to quit but have not been able to do so. Almost similar is the case with those who take smokeless tobacco in different forms including gutkha. Most users agree that tobacco drills a big hole in pocket.
A letter of support from UP health and family welfare minister Ahmed Hasan was also released on the occasion. Hasan expressed his deep concern on the alarming levels of tobacco consumption in UP state due to which people have to deal with life-threatening serious diseases such as cancers, heart diseases, respiratory diseases and other chronic ailments. He said that the government will act without delay to save lives.