Cigarette addiction strikes students early in life. The second-highest tobacco-using nation is India!

Despite numerous government campaigns raising awareness of the risks associated with tobacco use, youth, and school-age children continue to use tobacco products at higher rates. In India, tobacco use is typically marketed in a variety of forms, such as cigarettes, beedi, gutka, paan masala, etc

To raise awareness about tobacco, May 31st is designated as World No Tobacco Day every year. Furthermore, the WHO reported that tobacco farming takes up all of the arable land in more than 124 countries worldwide, leading to the announcement of “Grow food, not tobacco” as the theme for the 2023 World Anti-Tobacco Day.

According to WHO, India is the second largest consumer and second largest producer of tobacco in the world after China, even though many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic lung diseases, especially 27% of cancers occur in India due to tobacco use.

What does the International Youth Tobacco Survey say?

In India, GYTS-4 was conducted in 2019 by the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). A total of 97,302 students from 987 schools (Public-544; Private-443) participated in the survey. Of these, 80,772 students aged 13-15 years were considered for reporting.

The startling finding of the study—which was broken down by gender, age, school administration (private vs government), and school location (rural vs. urban)—was that 38% of Indian boys, or boys in general, began using tobacco products in some capacity before the age of ten.

The data also shows that 8.5% of students use some form of tobacco, of which 9.6% are male and 7.4% are female.

According to an analysis of earlier surveys, there has been a 42% decrease in tobacco use among school-age children (ages 13 to 15) in the last ten years. Significantly, from 35% in the 2009–10 survey to 28.6% in the 2016–17 survey, tobacco use declined in India.

According to the last released data for 2019, tobacco use in India is 8.5%.

On a state-wise analysis, tobacco use among school-going students is highest in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and Meghalaya. This is followed by states like Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh. In states like Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, and Goa, this tobacco habit is very common among students. Tobacco use among students in Tamil Nadu is 4.8%.

Also, the report states that 21 percent of students in India are exposed to second-hand smoke in enclosed public places, and 11 percent of students are exposed to second-hand smoke at home.

Compared to previous years, tobacco use in 2019 was significantly lower, according to an analysis of data from four additional rounds. However, after 2019, no survey-related data has been released.!


World No Tobacco Day: Tobacco farming adding to global food crisis, says WHO

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Indu Meenakshi

Indu Meenakshi is a former Microbiologist-turned-journalist, works as a Sub-Editor at YouTurn. She additionally holds Master’s in Management and English Literature. As a fact-checker, her job entails actively dispelling false information found online, exposing fake news, and raising public awareness.
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