Despite a ban on public smoking, around 29 percent of Indians were exposed to second-hand smoke outside their house while half faced it at their homes, according to a new study.
About five in ten adults (52.3 percent) were exposed to second-hand smoke at home and 29.0 percent at public places- mainly in public transport and restaurants.
The study found that 34.6 per cent of adults use tobacco in any form out of which 47.9 percent were males and 20.3 percent were females.
While 14 percent of adults- 24.3 percent of males and 2.9 percent of females- smoked tobacco, 25.0 percent of adults chewed tobacco.
More than five per cent of adults were cigarette smokers out of which 10.3 percent were males and 0.8 percent were females.
Bidi smokers were 9.2 percent of adults– 16.0 percent of males and 1.9 percent of females.
Among daily tobacco users, 60.2 percent consumed tobacco within half an hour of waking up.
Average age at initiation of tobacco use was 17.8 with 25.8 per cent of females starting tobacco use before the age of 15, the study said.
Among minors (age 15-17), 9.6 percent consumed tobacco in some form and most of them were able to purchase tobacco products.
Five in ten current smokers (46.6 percent) and users of smokeless tobacco (45.2 percent) planned to quit or at least thought of quitting.
Releasing the report, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad today said that while livelihood of tobacco growing farmers cannot be endangered, the Government must work towards 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 after releasing the first Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS)- India 2010.
Emphasising the need for inter-sectoral coordination for comprehensive tobacco control strategies, Azad said the health ministry has formed collaborations with the Agriculture Ministry for a project on alternative crops to tobacco and coordination with other stakeholder ministries such as Human Resource Development, Information and Broadcasting, Rural Development and Labour Ministry.