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Over 80% believe cigarettes, bidis pose serious public health problems: Survey
Bengaluru: A survey conducted by NGO Consumer Voice amongst adults in 10 States found that over 80% of Indians believe cigarettes, bidis, smokeless...
Bengaluru: A survey conducted by NGO Consumer Voice amongst adults in 10 States found that over 80% of Indians believe cigarettes, bidis, smokeless tobacco use is a very serious problem and 88% strongly support strengthening of the current tobacco control law to address this menace.
72% believe second-hand smoke is a serious health hazard. Support for banning smoking in all public places, eliminating special smoking areas in airports, hotels, and restaurants, banning sale of loose cigarettes and bidis and advertising of tobacco products at selling points is overwhelming.
The survey finds that a large section of citizens across the country strongly favour strengthening the tobacco control law.
"Tobacco use is seen as a serious problem by most Indians; Various forms of tobacco use is seen as very serious problem by most respondents. 82% of the respondents believe smokeless tobacco use is a profoundly serious problem; 80% say so about smoking cigarettes and 77% say bidis are a very serious problem," the survey says.
It further said that second-hand smoke is a serious health hazard.
It is very encouraging to see the overwhelming support from people to strengthening the current tobacco control law. Government of India has started the amendment process of tobacco control law COTPA 2003 which is an important step towards improving public health.
It is looking to strengthen the provisions for prohibiting smoking in public places and a ban on point-of-sale advertising displays besides ban on sale of loose cigarettes and have higher penalties, said Ashim Sanyal, Chief Operating Officer, Consumer VOICE.
"The survey by Consumer Voice has shown more than 80% support by the public to strengthen the tobacco control laws. Considering the massive response from the public it is high time the government strengthened the law by prohibiting smoking in all public places, including banning smoking areas in restaurants, pubs, hotels and airports.
Further increasing penalty for violation of tobacco control laws (COTPA) and strict implementation of the ban on the sale of loose cigarettes and bidis by the government is the need of the hour," said Dr Thriveni, a Public Health Specialist and Project Leader of Smoke-Free Bengaluru.
The annual economic costs from all tobacco products were estimated at Rs 177,341 crore in 2017-18 constituting 1% of India's GDP.
These are the findings of a detailed phone survey conducted by Consumer VOICE in 10 states covering a sample pool of 1476 adults (18+).