There are estimated 275 million tobacco users in India, about 120 million of them are smokers (accounting for 10% of the world’s smoking population) and 163 million use smokeless tobacco. It is estimated that 2,500 Indians die every day and 1 million Indians die every year from tobacco-related diseases. If current trends continue tobacco will account for 13% of all deaths in India by 2020.
Another survey of 12000 school-going children between the age of 13-15 undertaken by Tobacco Intervention Initiative (an initiative of Indian Dental Association) revealed that more than one out of 5 children use tobacco in one form or other, 14.6 % use the smokeless variety and 8.3 % smoke it. 2 out of 10 boys and 1 in 10 girls use tobacco. More than 50 % of city youth in the age group of 15- 22 years are tobacco users. 60 % of tobacco users are students. It was found that 98 % of tobacco users are from nuclear families. Reason being curiosity and peer pressure are responsible for getting them hooked to tobacco. Almost 40 % of the youth get back into the habit of smoking after unsuccessful cessation attempts.
Perhaps there is a need for various NGOs to consider getting involved in this very important activity. Bloomberg Philanthropy has initiated a US$ 375 million initiative to curbing tobacco epidemic in low and middle income countries.
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