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World No Tobacco Day: Smoking and tobacco in women - shocking facts

In India, around 3% of adult women use tobacco products?

According to studies, India has 12.1 million women smokers and lags behind only to the United States in this segment. While an average male smokes 6.1 cigarettes a day, a woman smokes an average of seven cigarettes per day! Not just in cities, but rural women also consume tobacco in various forms dental paste, bidis, hookah and masheri powder. A form of tobacco, women rub these products on the teeth and inside of the mouth, to energize them to work in the fields, manage their children and their husbands. However, little they know that this can affect their overall health. Dr Duru Shah, Director, Gynaecworld, Center for Assisted Reproduction & Women s health, Mumbai listsfew interesting facts about the use of tobacco in women. Also read about reasons why women should quit smoking

According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), India has an alarmingly high rate of tobacco consumption. Almost 275 million Indian adults, ie. nearly 35% of the population, consume some form of tobacco. GATS findings related to tobacco use among women are:

  • 3 % of adult women use tobacco products.
  • Over 90% women tobacco users consume smokeless tobacco (a large number of these users are in the reproductive age group).
  • The average age at initiation of tobacco use was 17.8 years with 25.8% of females starting tobacco use before the age of 15. Here are few things that happen inside your body when you smoke.

Apart from a cigarette, smokeless tobacco can also be dangerous for human life. India has a long history of using smokeless tobacco products as it is the most dominant format in India. It is a form tobacco which is consumed without burning, it is consumed by chewing. Most people chew or suck (dip) the tobacco in their mouth and spit out the tobacco juices that build up. There are several types of tobacco available in India; the most prominent ones are gutkha, zarda, khaini, masheri and mawa.

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Second-hand smoke and Third-hand smoke are equally dangerous as they contain more than 7000 chemicals, of which hundreds are harmful and about 70 can cause cancer. This shows that there is an urgency to control the consumption of tobacco and the target population must include: adolescent girls, pregnant women and older women. Here are few ads that will inspire you to quit smoking.

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