Jammu & Kashmir

32% men, 1% women consume tobacco in JK, reveals survey

A man lights up his cigarette. [FPK File Photo/ Parsa Mahjoob]

‘Rural areas show higher consumption; adolescents at risk with 23% current smokers in Srinagar’

Srinagar: Approximately 32 percent of men and one percent of women in Jammu and Kashmir consume tobacco, with cigarettes being the predominant product, according to the National Family Health Survey (NHFS-5).

Official data indicates that only 1 percent of women aged 15-49 use some form of tobacco. Among men, the most commonly used tobacco products are cigarettes (27%), bidis (4%), hookah, and cigars or pipes (2% each).

The use of any form of tobacco is slightly higher in rural areas (1.4% for women and 35% for men) than in urban areas (0.7% for women and 24% for men). Over one-third (35%) of men who smoke cigarettes reported smoking 5 to 9 cigarettes in the past 24 hours.

The data further reveals that around 0.2 percent of women in urban areas and 0.5 percent in rural areas use cigarettes, while 21.1 percent of men in urban areas and 28.7 percent in rural areas smoke cigarettes. It added that 0.1 percent of women and 4 percent of men smoke bidis, 0.1 percent of women and 2.2 percent of men smoke cigars or pipes, and 0.7 percent of women and 2.4 percent of men smoke hookah.

Cigarette consumption patterns show that 27 percent of smokers use 5 or fewer cigarettes per day, 34.7 percent use 5-9 cigarettes, 29.9 percent use 10-14 cigarettes, 6 percent use 15-24 cigarettes, and 0.3 percent use 25 or more cigarettes in 24 hours.

A survey conducted by the Department of Community Medicine at Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar around a year ago revealed that approximately 23 percent of school-going adolescents in Srinagar are smokers. The survey found that 29 percent of adolescent boys were ever smokers, and 23 percent were current smokers.

More than half (60.8%) of adolescents were exposed to tobacco smoke in public places. Factors associated with current cigarette smoking among adolescents included parental smoking, peer smoking, exposure to movies with actors smoking, lack of anti-smoking media messages, and not discussing the dangers of smoking in class.

The survey indicated that 29 percent of adolescents had smoked at least one puff, and 23 percent were current smokers. Among respondents, 15.1 percent usually smoked 2-5 cigarettes on the days they smoked, and the majority (14.8%) bought their cigarettes from shops. Furthermore, 16.1 percent of current smokers spent more than 1,000 rupees on cigarettes in the month preceding the survey.

Overall, 19.6 percent of adolescents believed that boys who smoke cigarettes have more friends, and 31.4 percent thought that boys who smoke are more attractive. Nearly all surveyed adolescents (94.6%) believed that cigarette smoking is harmful to health, but only 18.6 percent discussed the harmful effects with family or friends. The majority (82.8%) believed that once someone starts smoking, it is difficult to quit. Among current smokers, 85.1 percent had parents who were smokers, and nearly all had smoker friends.

According to the survey, 84.6 percent of adolescents believed that smoke from others is harmful, and 95.7 percent indicated that smoking should be banned in public places. Among current smokers, 62.3 percent wanted to stop smoking at the time of the survey, but only 20.2 percent had tried to quit in the past year. Half of the current smokers believed they could quit if they wanted to, and around 40 percent had quit smoking in the past year, citing various reasons for quitting.

An official said it is crucial to address tobacco use among adolescents and enhance awareness of its dangers, given the increasing prevalence and widespread exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.(KNO)

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