The latest Global Youth Tobacco Survey (2009) by the World Health Organisation (WHO), in consultation with the Government of India, suggests that more than 50 per cent of the people who bought cigarettes from stores were not refused despite the country’s law prohibiting sale of tobacco to minors. The WHO had carried out a school-based survey of students aged between 13 and 15. A two-stage cluster sample design was used to produce representative data for the country.
According to the preliminary results, 14 per cent students use one tobacco product or the other. Of these, 19 per cent are boys and 8.3 per cent girls. Worse, 15.5 per cent students who have not started smoking are likely to start soon. A total of 10,112 students participated in the WHO survey.
The survey revealed that 24 per cent think boys and 13.4 per cent think girls who smoke have more friends, and 21.1 per cent think boys and 15.6 per cent think girls who smoke look more attractive. And 5.7 per cent usually smoke at home.
The exposure to second-hand smoke is no less in India. The survey shows one in five students live in homes where others smoke and more than one-third of the students are exposed to smoke outside of their homes.
The good news is that more than two-thirds of the current smokers want to stop smoking.
According to the data, 66.1 per cent want to stop smoking, and 67.2 per cent have tried to stop smoking during the past year.
“Six out of 10 students think smoking in public places should be banned,” the survey added.