Indians have been shamed at not being able to quit smoking as effectively as their counterparts in 21 countries, claims the latest figures released by the US-government-run Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The report analyzed data between 2008 and 2013 for the percentage of former daily smokers over daily smokers in 22 countries. In India, only 12% men and 16% women have quit smoking, the least quit ratio in the world.
India is home to nearly 11 crore smokers. Almost 42% of the cancers among men in India are related to tobacco, making it the single largest cause of cancer amongst men in India. One hundred thousand new cancer patients are added annually of which up to 63,000 patients suffer from lung cancer that is related to smoking.
The report stated that, 15% of the smoker population has managed to quit cigarettes in China and over 40% of women and men gave up on smoking over the past five years in Uruguay and Brazil.
Dr Prakash Gupta, Director, Healis-Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health, Navi Mumbai said, "Brazil and many other countries have organized services for tobacco cessation. They have also started with tobacco control measures earlier than India and strong tobacco control measures are adopted like absolutely no smoking is permitted in public places. Tobacco control and cessation are grafted well in their health care services."
In India, on the other hand, Dr Gupta pointed out that there is lack of implementation of anti-smoking laws. It is difficult to quit tobacco, as nicotine in tobacco is the most addictive substance. Nicotine receptors develop in brain and continue to demand nicotine. "This is the reason for high relapse even after quitting tobacco. The person may quit once but will continue to have the urge for a long period," said Dr Gupta.
In nine states including Maharashtra 30% to 44% of the population consumes tobacco. India has the highest number of smokeless tobacco users (2.06 crores), which is the highest in the world. Also, the report points out that, chewing tobacco variety includes gutkha, betel quid or paan consisting of tobacco, areca nut, slaked lime and flavourings wrapped in betel leaf, loose-leaf, tambakoo, mishri, zarda, dry and moist varieties of snuff.