UP kids getting addicted to tobacco: Study

A recent Global Youth Tobacco Survey-4 (GYTS) for Uttar Pradesh has found that children are just around nine-and-a-half years of age when they initiate cigarette smoking.

Children even younger than that — about seven-year-old girls and eight-year-old boys — initiate smoking bidi.

An appalling figure of six years and eight months is the median age of initiation for children of urban areas into smoking bidi. Girls are less than seven years of age when they are initiated into smokeless tobacco use.

GYTS, a component of the Global Tobacco Surveillance System, is a standard for systematically monitoring tobacco use (smoking and smokeless) among youth and tracking key tobacco control indicators.

In the state, GYTS-4 was conducted as part of a national survey by the International Institute of Population Sciences under the Union Health Ministry.

A total of 3,501 students from across 37 private and public schools participated in the survey. Of these, 2,855 students aged 13 to 15 years were considered for the result.

As per GYTS-4, 23 per cent of students (22 per cent boys and 24 per cent girls) used a tobacco product.

Additionally, 21 per cent of students smoked tobacco.

Over 13 per cent children in the state smoke in school while 38 per cent smoke at home. Around 20 per cent of children smoke at a friend’s house, says the survey.

Prof Shalini Gupta of oral pathology and microbiology department at King George’s Medical University (KGMU) said: “There are cases of young children having pre-cancerous lesions and problems in opening their jaw fully due to tobacco use.”

She further said, “Children don’t open up but we can see signs on oral cavity during screenings and counsel them against tobacco use. Children think it’s ‘cool’ to smoke.”

Oral cancer specialist Dr Anand Pratap Singh said, “Tobacco use is the cause for six out of eight major reasons behind death in India.

According to the survey, of 10 kids aged 13 and 15 years of age, two boys and one girl are using tobacco today, which is alarming.”




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