SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir is the sixth State/UT in the country to have a high prevalence of tobacco use as over 20 per cent of the population is indulging in tobacco consumption, officials said.
Dr Mir Mushtaq, State Nodal Officer (Kashmir Division), National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) said that JK spots at sixth number in the country in tobacco consumption after Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
As per the National Health Survey figures, Kupwara has 56 percent tobacco users, Shopian 52 percent, Anantnag and Bandipora 49 percent, Budgam 48, Pulwama 44, Ganderbal 42, Baramulla and Kulgam 41 percent and Srinagar 38 percent.
Pertinently, as per GATS 2 data, 35.2% are men, 5.1% women, and 20.8% of all adults currently smoke tobacco in J&K.
As per the data, 6.8% of men and 1.5% of women and 4.3% of all adults currently use smokeless tobacco, 39.7% of men and 6.2 % of women and 23.7% of all adults either smoke tobacco or use smokeless tobacco.
One-third (32%) of men, and only 1 percent of women, aged 15-49 use some form of tobacco in J&K, the NHFS-5 data reveals.
The data adds, “Tobacco products mostly used by men are cigarettes (27% ), bidis (4%), hookah and cigars or pipe (2% each). Among women and men, the use of any form of tobacco is slightly higher in rural areas (1.4% for women and 35% for men) than in urban areas (0.7% for women and 24% for men),” the data adds. “Over one-third (35%) of men who smoke cigarettes smoked 5 to 9 cigarettes in the past 24 hours.”
The data states that around 0.2 percent of women in Urban and 0.5 in rural areas use cigarettes while 21.1 men in urban areas and 28.7 percent in rural areas are using cigarettes.
“0.1 percent women and 4 percent men in J&K are smoking bidis besides that 0.1 percent women and 2.2 percent men are smoking cigars or pipe in J&K while as 0.7 women and 2.4 percent women are hookah smokers,” it reads. “Around 27 percent of cigarette smokers use 5 or below cigarettes per day, 34.7 use 5-9 cigarettes, 29.9 percent use 10-14 cigarettes in 24 hours, 6 percent use 15-24 cigarettes, while 0.3 percent use 25 or above cigarettes in 24 hours,” it adds.
Dr Mushtaq said that the government has taken a slew of measures to decrease the percentage of tobacco consumption as authorities have produced thousands of challans and collected fines in lakhs of rupees from violators for smoking in public places in Kashmir division in the last four years
He said that people in thousands have quit smoking in Kashmir in the last four years while thousands received counselling and pharmacotherapy sessions.
“Awareness programmes are being conducted to aware people of the ill effects of tobacco and if we will be able to make people conscious there won’t need for enforcement,” he added.
The Nodal Officer said that various awareness programmes have been already started to educate people about the hazards of tobacco chewing and smoking. The officials have been directed to conduct regular enforcement drives for the implementation of COTPA-2003, he added.
Notably, the government of Jammu and Kashmir has imposed a complete ban on the sale of loose cigarettes, loose beedis and loose tobacco while all educational institutions and tourist destinations were declared as tobacco-free zones.