smokerrsSharing from tobacco advocacy workshop conducted by VHA-Goa and GoaCan/

The Global Scene

Tobacco is largest killer worldwide. 1-10 deaths worldwide are tobacco associated.  80% of these being in developing countries.

29% of the world population is addicted to smoking. One might argue that it is not really very significant. What makes it significant is the tobacco abuser debuts at a young age of 13- 15. This abuse lowers his life span and he exits but his place is taken by the next addict. That is to say 29% might be constant and legible but within the 29% there is constant new infusion. Of the tobacco abusers, 48% of men and 10.3%of women are smokers. The rest use smokeless tobacco. 84% of the tobacco abusers are in the developing countries.

In the 20th century 100 million deaths were caused by tobacco it is to hit 1 a billion in 21st century and by 2030 70% of the tobacco deaths will be developing countries.

The Indian Scene

India records 9 lakh tobacco and tobacco associated deaths. 2200 Indians die every day in a tobacco related death. And each day 5500 Indian youth start smoking—this makes the 29% relevant.

India reports the largest number of oral cancers. And 40% of the Indian cancer etiology is tobacco associated.

The Demography of Indian tobacco Users:

57% male and 11% females use tobacco in one form or the other.

Women chew tobacco more than smoke. This is more prevalent in the rural areas as compared to urban.

NE India records maximum tobacco abuse.

40.3% on Indians suffer from secondary tobacco inhalation.

Tobacco And Youth

Tobacco in the Indian context becomes very complicated as it presents itself in different form. Though smoking is the most widely acknowledged form.

37% of children start tobacco use by the age of 10.smoking forms 4.2% of this and more boys smoke than girls.11.9% of students use other tobacco products.

Various forms of tobacco presentation

Smoke presentation—cigarette, beedi, cigars, dhumti, cheroot, chutta, pipes, chillum, hooklis, hookah.

Smokeless presentation – gutka, zarda khaini, paan masala, paan masala with tobacco, tobacco water, meeta mawa, snuff, gul—applied on the teeth, gudhka—toothpaste, dentobac—toothpaste  Mishri—applied on the tooth.

Chemical Analysis of The Tobacco Concoction.

Tobacco contains psycho active component nicotine and nine other alkaloids. Nicotine is highly addictive. It causes increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and increase in blood fats. 4800 chemicals are found in a burning cigarettes, 69 of the identified ones are carcinogenic or the ones that cause cancer.

Nicotine à acts on the brain to release dopamine. Dopamine causes euphoria, and speeds metabolism. Speedy metabolism reduces hunger. The dopamine induced high drops causing a low that manifests as irritability and decreased concentration level. This in turn calls for the need for a fix. Or the next nicotine intake.

The short-term ill effects of this are—bad breathe, body odour, hair odour, stained fingers and teeth, tooth decay, breathlessness and sometimes even asthma.

Long-term adverse effect being – heart disease, reproductive disorders leading to impotency, cancer, respiratory embarrassment, stroke, neonatal deformities  that is deformities in a new-born child. Shrinking of the brain resulting in cognitive dysfunction, Alzheimer’s, cataract and loss of vision.

What is second-hand smoking?

Second hand smoking is the smoke inhaled by a non-smoker by being in the vicinity of a smoker. This is the mixture of exhaled smoke by a smoker along with the smoke emitted by the burning cigarettes. 30% increase of heart disease, 30% increase risk of lung cancer, respiratory illness asthma attacks, ear problems and if the expectant mother is a smoker then there could SIDS

And now third hand smoking

The invisible yet toxic brew of gaseous and particles clinging to the smokers hair and clothing. This lingers longer than the visible huff smoke trapped in the cushion covers curtains etc. and is a great threat to the children’s health. The residue that settles on the surface touched by the secondary smoke, (combination of exhaled smoke and burning cigarettes) contains heavy metals, carcinogens and sometimes even radioactive materials. This gets can get ingested into the system of babies, causing health issues for life.


  • Effective strategies for tobacco control manual for NGO’s HRIDAY N.Delhi.
  • Tobacco control laws a resource manual HRIDAY N.Delhi
  • Voluntary Health Association of India – Website.


  1. Reblogged this on creating Health and commented:

    “Char bought a pack of clove cigarettes, claiming they tasted good, to which I ask why doesn’t she just go suck on a clove so I don’t have to inhale her perfumed second hand smoke?”
    ― Julie Halpern, Into the Wild Nerd Yonder

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