Global Adult Tobacco Survey shows spike in Tamil Nadu’s tobacco usage

The data also shows that in Tamil Nadu 31.7 per cent of smokers and 24 per cent of those who used smokeless tobacco had tried to quit smoking.

Published: 08th June 2018 04:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th June 2018 12:19 PM   |  A+A-

No Smoking

Image used for representational purpose.

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2, released by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday, reveals that Tamil Nadu is the only South Indian state to report a higher prevalence of tobacco usage across different age groups when compared to GATS 1.

According to GATS 2, overall use of tobacco went up from 16.2 per cent in 2009-10 to 20.0 per cent in 2016-17 in Tamil Nadu, while in Kerala it has fallen from 21.4 to 12.7 per cent and in Karnataka it has fallen from 28.2 to 22.8 per cent.

In Tamil Nadu tobacco smoking usage rose from 9.6 per cent to 10.5 per cent and smokeless tobacco usage went from 8.1 to 10.6 per cent. In Kerala, however, tobacco smoking usage has dropped from 13.4 to 9.3 per cent and smokeless tobacco usage from 10.7 to 5. 4 per cent. Similarly in Karnataka, tobacco smoking usage has decreased from 19.4 to 16.3 per cent.

The data also shows that in Tamil Nadu 31.7 per cent of smokers and 24 per cent of those who used smokeless tobacco had tried to quit smoking. Further, 20.2 per cent of adults are exposed to second-hand smoking at the workplace, 11 per cent are exposed to second-hand smoking at home and 18.7 per cent at public places.

The data showed a whopping 81.1 per cent of smokers had bought cigarettes at stores, indicating easy availability. It estimated average monthly expenditure incurred by daily cigarette smokers was Rs 1,343.8 and beedi smokers was Rs 522.7.

In Tamil Nadu, less than five per cent of adults noticed advertisements or promotion on smokeless tobacco products. Also 91.1 per cent of adults believed that smoking caused serious illnesses. Almost 90 per cent were aware of the link between use of smokeless tobacco and dental disease. The total sample size of the survey was 3,000 respondents, of whom half were men.

GATS 2 was carried out in all the 30 states and in the two union territories of Chandigarh and Puducherry from August 2016 to February 2017. Speaking to Express, K Kolandaswamy, Director of Public Health, said, “The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 4 data shows reduction in the usage of tobacco in women and men compared to NFHS 3. So, the reasons for increase in GATS should be analysed.”

Use of tobacco among women had decreased from 2.8 per cent in NFHS-3 to 2.2 per cent in NFHS-4. Use among men has declined from 40.1 to 31.7 per cent.

S Cyril Alexander, State convener, Tamil Nadu People’s Forum for Tobacco Control, said NFHS data cannot be compared with GATS which is a comprehensive survey done by World Health Organization. The State should look into enforcement and should coordinate with different departments of the government.


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