Tobacco was introduced to India in the 17th century.
It later merged with existing practices of smoking which was mostly cannabis.
In India, smoking existed since 2000 BC when cannabis was smoked and it is first mentioned in the Atharvaveda.
According to the World health Organisation (WHO), India is home to 12 per cent of the world’s smokers.
Tobacco use is a major, preventable cause of premature death and disease worldwide.
India is the third largest tobacco producing nation and second largest consumer of tobacco worldwide.
An estimated 1.3 million people die in India every year due to tobacco, with the rate showing an upward trend. Out of these, one million deaths are attributed to smoking and the rest to other tobacco use.
Rediff Labs team analysed the data on tobacco use in India from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) report by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, government of India.
GATS is a global standard for systematically monitoring adult tobacco use smoking and smokeless and tracking key tobacco control indicators.
First of a multi-part analysis.
Prevalence of Tobacco:
Prevalence of tobacco in 2016-17 was 28.6 per cent all over India.
In India 19 per cent men, 2 per cent women and 10.7 per cent of all adults smoke tobacco.
Moreover, 29.6 per cent men, 12.8 per cent women and 21.4 per cent of all adults use smokeless tobacco.
The prevalence of tobacco use in minors aged 15-17 was 4 per cent.
Also, 42.4 per cent men and 14.2 per cent of all adults are currently using tobacco in any form, while 6.3 per cent men and 0.5 per cent women are currently using both forms of tobacco.
The above multi-map shows state-wise percentage of men and women aged above 15 currently using tobacco in any form.
States like Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Assam and Meghalaya have the highest percentage of adults using tobacco in any form.
States like Tripura, Mizoram, Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh have the highest percentage of men aged above 15 using tobacco in any form.
States like Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya and Odisha have the highest percentages of women aged above 15 currently using tobacco in any form.
Overall Tripura is the state where the tobacco usage is the highest.
States like Goa, Puducherry, Kerala, Punjab and Chandigarh have low percentage of adults and men aged above 15 currently using tobacco in any form.
States like Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Goa have low percentage of women aged above 15 currently using tobacco in any form.
Age at the initiation of tobacco use:
The age at the initiation of tobacco use either in smoking or smokeless form is an important dimension since it determines the duration of tobacco use.
The duration of tobacco use has a direct effect on the health impact due to tobacco.
In India, among all daily tobacco users currently aged 20-34 years, 12.2 per cent started using tobacco daily before turning 15; 23.6 per cent started when they were 15-17; 19.4 per cent started tobacco use at the age of 18-19 and the remaining 44.7 per cent started after the age 20.
More than one-third (35.8 per cent)of daily tobacco users aged 20-34 had started using tobacco on a daily basis before attaining the age of 18, i.e. when they were minors.
The mean age at initiation of daily tobacco use is 18.7 years.
The above chart shows state-wise percentage distribution of daily tobacco users according to their age at the initiation of daily tobacco use.
In states like Arunachal Pradesh (66 per cent), Sikkim (52 per cent), Maharashtra (51 per cent) and Meghalaya (50 per cent), a majority of daily tobacco users started using tobacco on daily basis before attaining the age 18.
States like Tamil Nadu(67 per cent), Kerala(67 per cent), Telangana (66 per cent), and Himachal Pradesh (61 per cent) have daily tobacco users who started using it after the age of 20 years.
To know more about the tobacco use in India and its effect watch this space.
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