Male Smokers In India Increased By More Than A Third Since ’98

A study shows that the number of men smoking tobacco in India has risen by more than a third to 108 million between 1998 and 2015.

AsianScientist (Mar. 7, 2016) – The number of men smoking tobacco in India rose by more than a third to 108 million between 1998 and 2015, according to a study published in BMJ Global Health.

The study also found that cigarettes were replacing the traditional bidi, a small, inexpensive Indian cigarette, possibly due to substantially higher income in India and population growth.

China is the only country in the world with more smokers than India. In both countries, tobacco taxes have not kept pace with the increased affordability of cigarettes. In 2010, smoking caused about one million or 10 percent of all deaths in India.

About 70 percent of those deaths occurred between the ages of 30 and 69—what should be the prime of their lives, according to study author and director of the Centre for Global Health Research at St. Michael’s Hospital, Dr. Prabhat Jha.

The study found the number of men smoking any type of tobacco at ages 15-69 years rose by about 29 million, or 36 percent, from 79 million in 1998 to 108 million in 2015, representing an average annual increase of about 1.7 million male smokers.

The overall age adjusted smoking prevalence at ages 15-69 years declined modestly from 27 percent in 1998 to 24 percent in 2010, but total numbers rose due to population growth.

Smoking cessation is uncommon in India. In 2015, at ages 45-59 years, there are roughly four current smokers for every quitter.

These findings have led Jha to urge the Indian government to increase tobacco taxes in its February 29 budget. His previous research has shown that raising the tax on tobacco is the single most effective intervention to lower smoking rates and to deter future smokers.

The article can be found at: Mishra et al. (2016) Trends in Bidi and Cigarette Smoking in India from 1998 to 2015, by Age, Gender and Education.


Source: St. Michael’s Hospital; Photo: Shutterstock.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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