More than 29 percent of students in India were exposed to second-hand smoke, said the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS-4), India, 2019, which was released by the Health Ministry on Tuesday.
The National Fact Sheet said there was a 42 percent decline in tobacco use among 13-15 year-old school going children in the last decade.
It further said that use of any form of tobacco was higher among boys than girls.
It also said tobacco use among school going children ( 13-15 years) was highest in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram and lowest in Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka.
About the Survey
The fourth round of Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS-4) was conducted in 2019 by the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The survey was designed to produce national estimates of tobacco use among school going children aged 13-15 years at the state level and Union Territory (UT) by sex, location of school (rural-urban), and management of school (public-private).
The first three rounds of GYTS were conducted in 2003, 2006 and 2009.
A total of 97,302 students from 987schools (Public-544; Private-443) participated in the survey. Of which, 80,772 students aged 13-15 years were considered for reporting.
42% Decline in Tobacco Use in School-Going Children
The survey also found that there has been a 42 percent decline in tobacco use among school-going children in the age group of 13-15 years in the last decade.
However, the number of children who still consume tobacco in some form remains concerning. 38 percent of cigarette, 47 percent of bidi smokers and 52 percent of smokeless tobacco users initiated the use before their 10th birthday.
The median age of initiation to cigarette and bidi-smoking, and smokeless tobacco use were 11.5 years, 10.5 years and 9.9 years respectively.
Releasing the report, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya emphasised the role of teachers as most crucial in creating awareness among children and their parents about harm due to tobacco use and for shaping the attitude of children in this regard.
“The more and the sooner, we create awareness among children about harms due to tobacco use, the better will be the outcomes in terms of reduction in prevalence of tobacco use among children and consequently among adults." he said.
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