Delhi to host national consultation on smokeless tobacco

A two-day national consultation will be held here April 4-5 by the ministry of health and family welfare in association with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) to highlight the growing use of tobacco products other than cigarettes.

A statement released Tuesday said that as per the recent Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) India Report, the current use of smokeless tobacco among adult males in India is as high as 32.9 percent and for females it is 18.4 percent. Overall, 26 percent of the adult population consumes smokeless type of tobacco.

Smokeless tobacco products include gutka, khaini and pan masala — all chewing tobacco produccts.

In the break-up of the state-wise consumption, Bihar scores the highest, 49 percent, while Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Goa scored the least, at five percent, the statement added.

“Youth is also a vulnerable group to smokeless tobacco use. Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS)-India, 2009, revealed that 12.5 percent youth – 16.2 percent boys and 7.2 percent girls – used tobacco products other than cigarettes. The situation is alarming when the report says school going children aged 13-15 years, across 132 countries, were more likely to use non-cigarette tobacco products,” the statement said.

As per the GATS India report, khaini is the most common chewing tobacco product used in India. The statement said that use of tobacco, other than cigarettes and bidis (leaf rolled cigarettes), is high in the northeastern region and states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, 50 percent of cancer cases among men and 25 percent among women in India are related to tobacco use.

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“The two-day consultation with relevant stakeholders is expected to bring out recommendation aiming at strategies to regulate use of smokeless tobacco in India and Southeast Asia region,” the statement said.

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