Tobacco use higher among rural women in India

New Delhi, May 30, (IANS) As marketing of tobacco to women is the focus for the ‘World No Tobacco Day’, being observed Monday, official figures reveal more Indian women in rural areas use tobacco than in urban centres.

According to an official statement from the health ministry, while only 0.5 percent women in urban areas smoke, the figure in rural areas is two percent.

Nearly six percent of women in urban areas and 12 percent women in rural areas use smokeless tobacco. The overall figure for women using tobacco in India, however, remains low with only 10 percent women using some form of tobacco.

More than a third of Indian men and about eight percent women chew tobacco.

A official statement from WHO says although men consist 80 percent of the tobacco users world over, this year’s theme focuses on women as the epidemic of tobacco use among women is increasing in some countries and regions.

Nearly 10 percent of world’s smokers live in India and close to one million people are expected to die due to tobacco use in the country this year.

Experts say smoking has emerged as the single largest reason of heart attack among young people in India.

‘Smoking is the commonest cause of heart attack among the youth,’ said eminent Cardiologist Balbir Singh.

‘Usually youth use it as a stress buster, it gives a good feeling for a while but in long term it adds to the stress,’ Singh said.

‘The tar from smoke blocks the arteries increasing blood pressure and ultimately leading to heart attack. It can even lead to rupturing of arteries,’ he adds.

This year’s theme also focuses on women working in tobacco manufacturing.