More women in India smoke now than 30 years ago: Study

New Delhi: Female smokers in India has gone up in the last 30 years but the number of men who puff daily dipped in the country where more people are smoking today, say researchers.

Smoking among Indian men fell from 33.8 per cent in 1980 to 23 per cent in 2012 while female smoking in 2012 was 3.2 per cent, almost the same as in 1980 (3 per cent), says a new study on global smoking prevalence published earlier this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the year 2012 a total of 12.1 million women smoked in India, compared to 5.3 million female smokers in 1980 while the prevalence of male smokers was estimated to be 98 million in the same year. Smokers in India also consumed an average of 8.2 cigarettes per day said the report.

United States had 14.3 per cent women smokers followed by Russia and Nepal (both 16.9 per cent), Brazil (11 per cent) Pakistan (5.4 per cent) Indonesia (3.6 per cent) India (3.2 per cent) China (2.1 per cent) Bangladesh (1.8 per cent) and Sri Lanka (1 per cent).

The study, titled “Smoking Prevalence and Cigarette Consumption in 187 Countries, 1980-2012,” by Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)referred to in-country surveys, government statistics and data by the World Health Organisation.

Also India gained 35 million smokers totalling to 110 million despite a fall in the smoking rate from 19 per cent to 13 per cent of the population, said the study published in the in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The report found that global smoking rate among men was 41 per cent in 1980, but declined to an average of 31 per cent.

Among women, the estimated prevalence of daily tobacco smoking was 10.6 per cent in 1980 and by 2012 that had fallen to 6.2 per cent.

“India is currently in the phase 2 of the tobacco epidemic, which follows a cyclical pattern. While there are male smokers, women smokers follow the trend in this phase,” points out Dr Monika Arora, Senior Director, HRIDAY, a voluntary organisation working in the field of health promotion among adolescents in India.

She says the number of women smoking in urban areas has increased. “We did a survey of schools in Chennai and Delhi and found that the there is a very narrow gender gap among adolescents who are smoking. Plus studies have put the And the prevalence of overall tobacco use among men as 47 per cent and women 21 per cent in the country,” says Monika.