41% smoke more now
than 3 years ago in
MUMBAI: The knowledge that smoking kills has not deterred some Mumbaikars from increasing their daily dose of cigarettes.
A survey done by a private insurance company on the eve of Quit Smoking Day on May 31 has found that 41% of the respondents in Mumbai smoked more cigarettes now than they did three years ago.
The reason cited for smoking is the same old one: It "relieves stress", both in both personal and professional lives.
In a telling commentary on the efficacy of the anti-smoking laws implemented in 2008, the survey showed that 95% of those surveyed never tried to quit the habit. "Indians are still in denial about the ill-effects of smoking. They believe that smoking will not harm them but only their neighbours," said Sanjay Datta of ICICI Lombard GIC Ltd.
It is estimated that India has around 275 million tobacco users, with the habit likely to kill 1.5 million Indians every year by 2020. "We are now seeing the gutka effect. Gutka has been banned in several states, but people who consumed it in the 1990s and early 2000 are now getting oral cancer,'' said Dr Vikram Kekatpure from Narayana Health City in Bangalore. While India has banned smoking in public places, "people are not frightened enough. They take to smoking due to peer pressure. We need peer pressure to make them drop the habit," said Datta.