Poorest in India are biggest consumers of tobacco


Patterns and distribution of tobacco consumption in India: cross sectional multilevel evidence from the 1998-9 national family health survey BMJ Volume 328, pp 801-6. Plus..Editorial: Tobacco related harm in South Asia BMJ Volume 328, p 780

The view that many poor families in South Asia are going without food to get tobacco is raised in this week's BMJ. A study from India finds that those with the lowest standard of living smoke and chew tobacco more than others do.

The analysis is based on the 1998-9 national family health survey of over 300,000 adults across 26 Indian states. Factors such as age, sex, education, caste, and standard of living were considered.

Men were more likely to consume tobacco than women. Higher levels of education, standard of living, and social caste status were all associated with lower rates of smoking and chewing tobacco.

Tobacco consumption was greater in rural areas and towns than in large cities, and large differences were also observed between states.

Tobacco consumption is likely to contribute to maintaining or worsening the current social and economic differences in India, say the authors.

Interventions aimed at changing tobacco consumption should consider the social, economic, and geographical aspects of people's susceptibility to consume tobacco, they conclude.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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