Despite nearly seven of the ten smokers in India being aware about the negative effects of smoking, 53 per cent have been unsuccessful in their attempts to quit, according to study released on the eve of World No Tobacco Day. The study by the ‘Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’ stated that more than 104 million people in India continue to imperil their health by using combusted tobacco every day.
Around 41 per cent of smokers who tried to quit said they would need assistance to do so while 25 per cent were using e-cigarette or vaping devices. The study further said that 68 per cent of smokers report that they are “well informed” about the impact of smoking. The data which is a part of a global survey of 17,000 participants across 13 countries, covered 3,296 people in India. The study indicated that new cessation and harm-reduction options are needed to help smokers live longer and healthier lives.
“The data show what we have anecdotally known for decades– that many smokers have the desire to quit, but not the means to match it,” Derek Yach, president of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, said. It is clear that smokers are sacrificing their physical and economic well-being to smoke, even though many of them have the desire to quit, he said.
Bidis, which are a type of low-cost and hand-rolled cigarettes that are locally made in India, account for a significant proportion of tobacco use in India. Their popularity is attributed to lower tax excise than conventional cigarettes or to tax evasion altogether, Yach stated. This suggests that control measures applied in India may have to be distinct from those applied to other countries in order to accelerate the rate of smoking cessation and harm reduction in India. “As evidenced by the situation in India and around the globe, there is still a tremendous amount of work to do,” he added.
Of 13 countries the foundation surveyed, the majority of smokers in each consider themselves addicted to cigarette, ranging from 60 per cent in India to 91 per cent in Japan. According to the study, in 11 of the 13 countries surveyed (New Zealand, US, UK, France, Brazil, Japan, Israel, Russia, Malawi, India, and Greece), the majority of smokers have tried to quit. South Africa and Lebanon have less than half of the people who tried to quit.