51 per cent men, 26 per cent women in Odisha use tobacco in any form: NFH Survey
The State has nearly half of the men, aged above 15 years, (51.6 per cent) and 26 pc women tobacco users against the national average of 38 pc men and 8.9 pc women.
BHUBANESWAR: Even as Odisha government has banned sale and manufacture of tobacco since 2013, the latest family health survey revealed one in every two men and one in every four women still consume the substance in the State.
According to the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-2021), though the consumption of tobacco has marginally dropped, Odisha is among the top states where a significant population still use tobacco in any form - be it chewing or smoking.
The State has nearly half of the men, aged above 15 years, (51.6 per cent) and 26 pc women tobacco users against the national average of 38 pc men and 8.9 pc women. People in rural areas consume more tobacco. In rural areas, 54.1 pc men and 28 pc women consume tobacco as compared to 40.5 pc men and 16.6 pc women in urban areas.
While the use of any kind of tobacco has decreased from 55.9 pc in 2015-2016 to 51.6 pc in 2019-2021 among men, it has increased from 17.3 pc in 2015-2016 to 26 pc in 2019-21 among women. As many as 68.8 pc men and 31.4 pc women were consuming tobacco in 2005-06.
The mean age of initiation into tobacco is 10.2 years. However, there is no data on the percentage of people who tried to stop smoking or using tobacco in any form during the past 12 months when the study was conducted.
The most common form of tobacco consumption among men is chewing paan masala or gutkha, followed by smoking cigarettes, using khaini, and smoking beedis. Among men who smoke cigarettes or beedis, 47 pc smoke five or more cigarettes or beedis each day on an average.
Among women, the most common form of tobacco used is paan masala or gutkha, paan with tobacco, and using khaini. With a significant portion of the population consuming tobacco, oral cancer has assumed alarming proportions in the State claiming more than 10,000 lives every year. Health experts expressed concern over slack enforcement as the traders rake in the mollah throwing all caution to wind.
The district level committees formed to check illegal sale and manufacture of tobacco substance failed to check the menace as there is hardly any raid on the traders. Shops continue to sell tobacco products near the premises of educational institutions even as the practice is banned in the State. Last year, only Rs 9.7 lakh fine was collected during raids.