Tribune News Service
Shimla, January 7
Himachal Pradesh has been ranked the best in the country in tobacco control among children aged 13-15 years by Global Youth Tobacco Survey. Compared to Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, where the tobacco prevalence has been found the highest in the country at 58 per cent, only 1 per cent children use tobacco products in Himachal.
Besides, the state has witnessed a significant decline in the use of tobacco among adults too. The survey in 2016-17 recorded a decline of 24 per cent in tobacco use from 2010. “If we go by the real-time data at present, the decline is roughly around 50 per cent. It puts us among the best performing states on this count,” said Dr Gopal Chauhan, state programme officer for tobacco control.
The sharp reduction in tobacco use could be attributed to the programme’s success in reducing the exposure of smoking at home. “In the 2010 GATS survey, 82.5 per cent adults were exposed to smoke at home. Thanks to sustained efforts, the number came down to 32.9% in the second survey in 2016,” he said. Dr Chauhan considers the lowest prevalence of tobacco use among kids as the biggest success. “If we are able to keep a child away from tobacco in this age group, his chances of getting addicted later in life reduce significantly. Also, it is difficult to give up tobacco if one has started using it early in life,” he said.
The other is that it considerably reduces the possibility of children going for some other form of substance use. “Tobacco is the gateway to the world of drugs. If we succeed in keeping youth away from tobacco, we will see less youth doing drugs,” said Dr Chauhan. The state is aiming to bring tobacco use below five per cent by 2030.
State tops country in tobacco control
- As per a survey, HP tops country in tobacco control among kids aged 13-15
- At 58%, tobacco prevalence highest in Arunachal & Mizoram
- Himachal also witnessed significant decline in use of tobacco among adults