Tobacco use among adolescents in Maharashtra has doubled in seven years: Study

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Although Maharashtra witnessed a general decrease in tobacco consumption of 4.1%, the number of women and adolescents who use tobacco has increased. The worrying statistics were revealed by the second Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS2), which was launched at the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) on Friday.

One of the worrying findings, according to the experts, was that tobacco consumption among adolescents [15 to 17 years old] has increased from 2.9% to 5.5% in the last seven years, despite a national decrease in smoking. fifty%.

The consumption of tobacco in the state decreased from 31.4% in 2006-2007 to 26.6% in 2016-2017. While the decrease in total consumption is hailed as “victory” for the state’s anti-smoking campaign, since Maharashtra has the lowest prevalence compared. to other states The survey was conducted between November and December 2016, during which 1,517 men and 1,624 women were interviewed.

Sulabha Parasuraman, a consultant with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar, who led the survey, said that the number of people who smoke tobacco is 24.9 million in the state, which is high compared to other states. “The reason that the figures are high despite the decrease in consumption is due to the population of the state, of which 89% smoke tobacco daily,” he said.

Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, head and neck surgeon, TMH, said that the increase in tobacco use among adolescents is of great concern, since they are at risk of developing cancer in the most “economically productive” years of their lives. lives

“These people, especially those who use chewed tobacco, are at risk of developing cancer within seven years.” In TMH, the majority of patients with oral cancer are in the 25-27 age group, which indicates that they may have started to consume tobacco at a young age, “he said.

In addition, the findings showed that the average age, at which people start smoking in the state has decreased from 18 to 17 years, while nationally, increased by one year.

“It is shameful that the trend in the state shows that people are starting to smoke at an earlier age in the state compared to the rest of the country,” Chaturvedi added.

Another surprising finding was that tobacco use among women increased from almost negligible to 1% in the last seven years.

“While both men and women have the same predisposition to develop cancer, smoking in women can lead to premature delivery and still be born, when they are born,” said Dr. PC Gupta, director of the Healis-Sekhsaria Public Health Institute.