More smokers want to quit after harsh pictorial warnings

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New Delhi, May 31: Anti-tobacco campaigns by the government and stringent pictorial warnings on packages of smoking and chewable tobacco products seem to have increased the number of smokers in India who wish to quit smoking.

"Studies carried out after the implementation of pictorial package warnings in Brazil, Canada, Singapore and Thailand consistently show that graphic warnings have significantly increased people''s awareness of the harms of tobacco use," according to the World Health Organisation.

In India, the world''s second-largest producer and consumer of tobacco after China, over 241 million people are estimated to be using tobacco in some form or the other.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2009-2010, nearly 35 per cent of Indians (47 per cent of men and 20.3 per cent of women) are currently using some form of tobacco.

However, around 38 per cent of cigarette smokers, 29.3 per cent of bidi users and 33.8 per cent of those who use smokeless tobacco were thinking about quitting because of the warning labels on the products they use, says the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2009-2010.

According to the survey, conducted by the International Institute for Population Sciences in association with WHO and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 14 per cent adults in India currently smoke tobacco, while 25.9 per cent people used smokeless tobacco.

It also says that over 52 per cent people were exposed to second-hand smoke at home, while 29 per cent get exposed to it in public places.

However, the study found that 38.4 per cent smokers -- 38.3 per cent men and 38.9 per cent women -- have made an attempt to quit. The figure for users of smokeless tobacco was 35.5 per cent -- 38.8 per cent men and 29 per cent women.


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