52% adults exposed to passive smoking at home

Only 10 per cent of the people in Tamil Nadu are exposed to second hand smoking inside their homes as against 97 per cent in Mizoram, a survey shows. Despite a ban on smoking, 52 per cent Indian adults are exposed to passive smoking at home; it is higher in rural households (58 per cent) and 39 per cent in urban homes.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), released here on Tuesday, said exposure to second hand smoking at work place was the highest (68 per cent) in Jammu and Kashmir and the lowest in Chandigarh (15 per cent). Exposure to passive smoking at workplaces was as high as 30 per cent.

Among those who visited different public places within 30 days prior to the survey, 29 per cent were exposed to second hand smoking: 18 per cent on public transport, 11 per cent in restaurants, 7 per cent in government buildings and 5 per cent at health care facilities. Exposure to second hand smoking at any public place ranged from the highest of 54 per cent in Meghalaya to the lowest of 11 per cent in Chandigarh. Over 50 per cent of those who visited restaurants during the 30 days prior to the survey had seen a designated non-smoking area in the restaurant and 16 per cent said they observed smoking in such areas. There was a large variation across States/Union Territories in the proportion of adults who saw a designated non-smoking area in the restaurant. It varied from 17 per cent in Mizoram to 89 per cent in Delhi.

The GATS India survey has revealed that more than one-third (35 per cent) of adults in India use tobacco in some form or the other. Among them 21 per cent adults use only smokeless tobacco, 9 per cent only smoke and 5 per cent do both. The overall prevalence of smoking among men is 48 per cent and among women it is 20 per cent. The prevalence of tobacco use ranges from the highest of 67 per cent in Mizoram to the lowest of 9 per cent in Goa.

The report suggests that there should be a national effort to prevent any further increase in the prevalence of tobacco use, especially among the vulnerable groups. There should be targeted programmes addressing different types of tobacco use and different user groups with special focus on cessation. It also recommends strengthening the implementation of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade, Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.

Speaking on the occasion, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that while livelihood of tobacco growing farmers could not be endangered, the focus must be on moving farmers and farm workers out of the tobacco industry. “We cannot indefinitely tolerate a public health hazard in the name of protecting livelihoods,” he said. Emphasising on the need for inter-sectoral coordination for tobacco control strategies, he spoke about collaborations with the Agriculture Ministry for a project on alternative crops in coordination with Human Resource Development, Information and Broadcasting, Rural Development and Labour Ministries.

source: thehindu.com

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