GUWAHATI, July 16 - City-based Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) has welcomed the recent findings of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) which show that there has been a reduction in number of tobacco users in the country.
The GATS findings were recently released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The major highlight of GATS is the reduction in point percentage of tobacco users in the country by six per cent – from 34.6 per cent in 2009-10 to 28 per cent in 2016-17.
There has also been an increase in the level of awareness on the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco from 89 per cent to 96 per cent.
As per GATS, there has been a 33 per cent relative reduction in the consumption of tobacco by the young population in the 15-24 years age group.
In India, 42.4 per cent of men, 14.2 per cent of women and 28.6 per cent of all adults currently use either smoking tobacco or smokeless tobacco.
A decline of 81 lakh tobacco users and prevention of two lakh deaths due to tobacco consumption has been also been estimated, as per the GATS findings.
Appreciating the findings, BBCI Director Dr Amal Chandra Kataki congratulated various organisations and civil societies that have contributed to such a decline in the tobacco consumption across the country.
“The steps towards tobacco control should be doubled in the State and in the Northeast to bring down the tobacco consumption rates, as tobacco consumption in this part of the country is relatively higher than the rest of the country. For continuing improvement, the country needs further strengthening of tobacco control policies and existing law enforcement measures,” Dr Kataki stated.
GATS is a global standard of systematically monitoring adult tobacco use, both smokeless and smoking, and tracking key parameters of tobacco control.
This was a household survey conducted among 74,037 persons above 15 years of age across 30 states and two Union Territories of the country.
The first round of GATS survey was conducted in 2009-10. The latest was the second round, which was conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, in 2016-17.
It was conducted under the stewardship of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, with technical assistance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA.
“A major impact of the recent pictorial warning on tobacco packets is that, compared to 33 per cent of adults who thought of quitting tobacco in 2010, now almost 54 per cent adults have thought of quitting it. One of the major challenges in tobacco control efforts will now be to curb the use of khaini, which is the most commonly used tobacco product in the country, followed by bidi. As per the GATS 2, 10.4 crore and 7.2 crore adults in the country are addicted to khaini and bidi,” Dr Kataki said.