February 3, 2011 - Survey finds nearly 80 percent of teenagers between the age of 14 to 19 in the metropolitan cities, are addicted to smoking cigarettes. The survey conducted by Assocham (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) survey saw participations of over 3,000 teenagers of age group of 14 to 19 from all over the schools and college in metropolitan cities from November to January 2011. Of the teenagers that are addicted to cigarettes, one out of five is smoking an alarming 13 to 15 cigarettes every single day, it reveals.
The major cities in which respondents were interviewed include Mumbai, Goa, Cochin, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna, Pune, Delhi, Chandigarh and Dehradun. Interestingly, it is observed that consumption of cigarettes is more in fashion in Delhi-NCR, followed Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Chandigarh, Chennai and Hyderabad.
The survey highlights the fact that consumption of cigarettes among teenagers has increased due to smoking by parents, availability and price of tobacco, lack of parent involvement, approval of smoking by siblings and lower self-esteem among teenagers.
It reveals that majority of children, aged 14 to 16 have tried smoking in their schools. Every single day, close to 600 teenagers begin to smoke cigarettes, it says.
Of these teenagers smoking, about 20 percent of the males are addicted to smoking and close to 6-10 percent of the females are smoking regularly.
The majority of teenagers nearly spend Rs 3,500-4,500 (77.04 USD-99.05 USD) on an annual basis. The survey reveals that fact that nearly 94 percent of teen smokers have never been asked for proof of age when buying cigarettes in a store.
Interestingly, 80 percent teens were allowed for buying cigarettes even though the retailer was aware they were under the age of 18.
"Parents are the biggest influence and do have the power to introduce their children to the dangers of smoking," Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat says. With combined efforts from adults, teenagers could be able to get the necessary education and make the decision to not smoke, Mr Rawat says.
The most dramatic increase in regular smoking occurs at about age 15 for both boys and girls.
India makes critical decision on education that will help convince children not to use tobacco. The government on Thursday, April 1st brought into force a new law that makes education free and compulsory for every child from age 6 to 14—the latest government initiative aimed at harnessing the economic potential of its young population. About a third of India's 1.2 billion people are under the age of 14, one of the highest ratios in the world. (Joining hands in the interest of children, Kapil Sibal, The Hindu, 1/31/2010)
Reference: 80 percent teenagers in metros addicted to smoking cigarettes: Survey, United News of India (UNI), newKerala.com, 1/30/2011.
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