Smoking Rates Decline among Men in India Almost a quarter of men smoke cigarettes daily


New Delhi, January 8 (Washington Bangla Radio, USA) - India has made progress in reducing the prevalence of daily smoking among men, according to new research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

Smoking is the third top risk for health loss in India, leading to nearly one million deaths each year in the country. Between 1980 and 2012, smoking prevalence among Indian men decreased from 33.8% to 23%. India has more female smokers – over 12.1 million – than any country except the United States. In 2012, female smoking prevalence was 3.2%, which is virtually unchanged since 1980.

The study, “Smoking Prevalence and Cigarette Consumption in 187 countries, 1980-2012,” was published January 8 in the Journal of the American Medical Association in a special issue devoted to tobacco.
“Smoking rates remain dangerously high for men and there is more work to be done to drive these rates lower,” said  Dr. Srinath Reddy, President of the Public Health Foundation of India, in response to the findings. “The high number of female smokers in India is also troubling.”

These developments in India have taken place against an increasingly complex global backdrop. Trends in age-standardized tobacco use vary greatly by country and gender, with places such as Mexico and Canada seeing rapid declines while others, such as Russia and China, seeing increases since 2006. Male smokers continue to outnumber female smokers and, since 1980, the global rate of decline in female smoking prevalence was consistently faster than in men. 

“Despite the tremendous progress made on tobacco control, much more remains to be done,” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray. “We have the legal means to support tobacco control, and where we see progress being made we need to look for ways to accelerate that progress. Where we see stagnation, we need to find out what’s going wrong.”

According to the most recent figures from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, coordinated by IHME, tobacco use (excluding second-hand smoke) led to nearly one million deaths, 6.1% of years of life lost due to premature death, and 5.1% of health loss in India.

IHME arrived at its estimates based on a wide range of data sources, including in-country surveys, government statistics, and World Health Organization data, and the estimates cover all ages. Previous estimates typically have been focused on fewer data sources and a more limited age range.

The greatest health risks for both men and women are likely to occur in countries where smoking is pervasive and where smokers consume a large quantity of cigarettes. These countries include China, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Korea, the Philippines, Uruguay, Switzerland, and several countries in Eastern Europe. The number of cigarettes smoked annually has grown to more than 6 trillion. In 75 countries, smokers consumed an average of more than 20 cigarettes per day in 2012. Smokers in India consumed an average of 8.2 cigarettes per day.

There have been three phases of global progress in reducing the age-standardized prevalence of smokers: modest progress from 1980 to 1996, followed by a decade of more rapid global progress, then a slowdown in reductions from 2006 to 2012. This was in part due to increases in the number of smokers since 2006 in several large countries, including Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, and Russia.

“Change in tobacco prevalence typically has been slow, underscoring what a hard habit it is to break,” said Emmanuela Gakidou, Professor of Global Health and Director of Education and Training at IHME. “But we know from these global trends that rapid progress is possible. If more countries were able to repeat the success we have seen in Norway, Mexico, and the United States, we would see much less health loss from smoking.”

How did male and female smoking prevalence for India compare to select other countries in 2012?

Male                                                                Female
Indonesia 57%                                                 Russia 16.9%
Russia 51%                                                      Nepal 16.9%
China 45.1%                                                    United States 14.3%
Bangladesh 44.4%                                           Brazil 11%
Nepal 37.4%                                                    Pakistan 5.4%
Pakistan 28%                                                   Indonesia 3.6%
Sri Lanka 23.4%                                              India 3.2%
India 23%                                                        China 2.1%
United States 17.2%                                        Bangladesh 1.8%
Brazil 16.5%                                                    Sri Lanka 1%
How does India’s 23% male smoking prevalence compare to the countries with the highest and lowest male smoking prevalence in 2012?

Highest:                                                                                              Lowest:
Timor-Leste 61.1%                                                                              Antigua and Barbuda 5%
Indonesia 57%                                                                                     Sao Tome and Principe 7%
Kiribati 54.4%                                                                                      Nigeria 7.5%
Armenia 51.7%                                                                                    Ethiopia 7.7%
Papua New Guinea 51.4%                                                                   Ghana 8.2%
Laos 51.3%                                                                                          Sudan 8.2%
Russia   51%                                                                                        Dominica 8.4%
Cyprus 48%                                                                                        Niger 8.8%
Macedonia 46.5%                                                                                Suriname 9.8%
Tonga 46.4%                                                                                       Ecuador 10.3%
In terms of number of cigarettes which countries with populations greater than 1 million had the highest and lowest average consumption per smoker per day in 2012? How does India’s 8.2 cigarettes per day compare?

Highest:                                                                                              Lowest:
Mauritania 41                                                                                      Chad 1
Eritrea 38                                                                                             Burkina Faso 1
Rwanda 36                                                                                           Guinea 1
Moldova 36                                                                                          Uganda 2
Swaziland 35                                                                                        Bangladesh 3
Saudi Arabia 35                                                                                   Bolivia 3
Oman 33                                                                                              Tajikistan 3
Taiwan 32                                                                                            Peru 4                           
Panama 30                                                                                           SierraLeone 4    
Yemen 30                                                                                             Benin 4

Source : Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation