The prevalence of tobacco use has gone down by six percentage points from 34.6 percent of the country’s adult population in 2009-10 to 28.6 percent in 2016-17, a global survey has claimed. The second Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2) report pegged that the number of tobacco users in India had gone down by 81 lakh. Tobacco use among the young population (aged between 15 and 24 years) reduced from 18.4 per cent in GATS-1 to 12.4 per cent in GATS-2. Also, there is an increase of one year in the mean age at initiation of tobacco use from 17.9 years in 2009-10 to 18.9 years in 2016-17, the report stated. The survey revealed that 19 percent of men, 2 percent of women and 10.7 percent of all adults currently smoke tobacco, while 29.6 percent of men, 12.8 percent of women and 21.4 percent of all adults use smokeless tobacco.
It also mentioned that 28.6 percent of all adults (26.7 crores) use tobacco in some form or other. ‘Khaini’ and bidi emerged as the most commonly used tobacco products with 11 percent of the adult population consuming ‘khaini’ and 8 per cent smoking bidis. A total of 74,037 individuals were interviewed for the survey between August 2016 and February 2017. The National Health Policy, 2017, has set the target of “relative reduction in the prevalence of current tobacco use by 15 percent by 2020 and 30 percent by 2025”. The survey further stated that 61.9 per cent of adults thought of quitting cigarettes because of warnings on tobacco product packs, 53.8 percent thought of quitting bidi because of warnings, while 46.2 per cent thought of quitting smokeless tobacco because of warnings on tobacco product packs.
The average expenditure incurred on last purchase of cigarette, bidi and smokeless tobacco is Rs 30, Rs 12.5 and Rs 12.8 respectively. The expenditure on cigarette has tripled and that on bidi and smokeless tobacco has doubled since GATS-1, the report pointed out. The GATS is a global standard for systematically monitoring adult tobacco use and tracking key tobacco control indicators. It was a household survey of persons aged 15 and above and was conducted in all states and two Union Territories. The first round of GATS was conducted in 2009-10. The second round of GATS was conducted in 2016-2017 by Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. The survey was conducted under the stewardship of the Ministry of Health and technical assistance was provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).