Over the past decade, there has been a 42 per cent decline in tobacco use among school-going children in the age bracket of 13-15 years, shows the latest edition of Global Youth Tobacco Survey's India data.
The survey added that 38 per cent of cigarettes, 47 per cent of bidi and 52 per cent of smokeless tobacco users picked up the habit before their 10th birthday. It also found out that tobacco use among school-going children (13-15 years) is highest in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram (58 per cent each). It is the lowest in the states of Himachal Pradesh (1.1 per cent) and Karnataka (at 1.2 per cent).
More Than 29% Exposed To Second-Hand Smoke
The survey found that more than 29 per cent of students are exposed to second-hand smoke. The survey was designed to produce national estimates of tobacco use among school-going children aged 13-15 years in states and Union Territories by sex, location of school (rural, urban), and management of school (public, private). A total of 97,302 students from 987 schools, including 544 public and 443 private schools, took part in the survey.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya emphasized the role of teachers and said they were crucial in creating awareness among children and their parents about harm due to tobacco use and for shaping the attitude of children in this regard.
"The more and the sooner, we create awareness among children about harms due to tobacco use, the better will be the outcomes in terms of reduction in the prevalence of tobacco use among children and consequently among adults," he added.
The survey also found that the prevalence of tobacco use was higher among boys (9.6 per cent) than girls (7.4 per cent). About 52 per cent of students noticed anti-tobacco messages in the mass media, while 18 per cent of students noticed tobacco advertisements or promotions when visiting points of sale.