Skip to main content

"Failure" of a Modi campaign: 51% Gujarat men tobacco addicts, higher than 14 states

A tobacco retail shop in a Gujarat town
By Rajiv Shah
While the Gujarat government may claim to have decided to begin a “tobacco free Gujarat” campaign in 2011 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the state chief minister, yet, latest available data suggest that as many as 51.4 per cent of men and seven per cent of women in the state use any form of tobacco – it can be smoking cigarettes, bidis, cigars pipes, or hookas, chewing pan masalas with or without tobacco, use of gutkha or pan masala with tobacco, or use of khaini or snuff.
What is worse, data show, while the percentage of those using tobacco has come down, Gujarat has faltered in the fight against tobacco vis-à-vis other states. However, compared to other states, the effort to free its population from tobacco addiction has clearly not been as effective.
Indeed, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data for 2015-16, released a year ago, suggest that 51 per cent of men and seven per cent of women in the age group 15-49 “use some form of tobacco”, which is the seventh highest among 21 major Indian states. However, while a decade earlier, the percentage of men using tobacco was higher (60.2 per cent), NFHS data for 2005-06 show, Gujarat placed the nine highest among major Indian states.
Similarly, if in 2005-06, Gujarat had the ninth highest percentage of women using tobacco, the state has “improved” its position to seventh a decade later, despite the fact that fewer percentage of females “use” tobacco now. If in 2005-06, 8.4 women were addicted to tobacco in some form, in 2015-16 it is down to 7.6 per cent.
Referring to Gujarat, the NFHS report for 2015-6 says, “Men are much more likely to use gutkha or paan masala with tobacco (34%) than to use other types of tobacco.”
It adds, “Among men, the use of any form of tobacco is higher in rural areas than in urban areas with gutkha or paan masala with tobacco, followed by bidis, being especially popular in rural areas. Half of the men who smoke cigarettes or bidis smoked 10 or more cigarettes or bidis in the past 24 hours.”
Making an almost similar observation, the NFHS report for 2005-06 says, “Women and men who use tobacco are most likely to chew tobacco in the form of paan masala, gutkha, or other tobacco. Among men who use tobacco, smoking cigarettes or bidis is also quite common. Tobacco use is more common in rural areas than in urban areas.”
The six states where a higher proportion men are using tobacco than Gujarat (51.4 per cent), as of 2015-16, are: Assam 63.9 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 59.5 per cent, West Bengal 58.8 per cent, Odisha 55.9, Chhattisgarh 55.2, and Uttar Pradesh 53 per cent.
A decade earlier, the nine states where a higher percentage of men used tobacco Gujarat (60.2 per cent) were: Assam 72.4 per cent, West Bengal 70.2 per cent, Odisha 68.8 per cent, Chhattisgarh 68.6 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 68.5 per cent, Bihar 66.5 per cent, Uttar Pradesh, 64.3 per cent, Jharkhand 61.7 per cent, and Rajasthan 60.4 per cent.
Similarly, as for women, Gujarat’s 7.4 per cent of women are found to have used tobacco in 2015-16, as against a higher percentage of six other states: Chhattisgarh 21.6 per cent, Assam 19.7 per cent, Odisha 17.3 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 10.4 per cent, West Bengal 8.7 per cent, and Uttar Pradesh 7.6 per cent.
In 2005-06, Gujarat’s 8.4 per cent women used tobacco, and the nine states with a higher percentage of women using tobacco were: Odisha 31.4 per cent, Chhattisgarh 25.2 per cent, Assam 23.2 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 16 per cent, West Bengal 15.6 per cent, Uttar Pradesh 12.1 per cent, Jharkhand 11.6 per cent, and Maharashtra 10.5 per cent.
What is of equal significance is, the percentage of men and women using tobacco in Gujarat is much higher than the all-India average. Thus, In 2015-16, the gap was about six per cent for men: In Gujarat, 51.4 per cent men used tobacco, as against the all-India average of 44.8 per cent. 
As for women, thought the gap is less than one per cent (Gujarat 7.4 per cent, as against India 6.8 per cent), what is of no less significant is, Gujarat women’s average was 8.4 per cent, lower than the national average (10.8 per cent).
There is also a rural-urban difference in the use of tobacco. Thus, if in 2015-16, 5.2 per cent urban women use “any form of tobacco”, in rural areas it is 9.1 per cent. Things are not very different for men: 46 per cent men in urban areas as against 56.2 per cent in rural areas.
The situation has failed to improve via-a-vis the country as a whole the state government decided to form five mobile flying squads with mobile vans, consisting of a police inspector and a health functionary, to take action against the use of tobacco in spots near places where the consumption of tobacco is prohibited, such as schools, educational institutions, public places, etc.
While money might have been spent on campaigns to make Gujarat tobacco free, NGOs say, the campaign has been ineffective and confined itself to exhorting people on formal occasions for this and not proceed with the required commitment.
---
A version of this article was first published in counterview.org

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
Modi continues to be popular in spite of so many negative reports. Let us see what the election results tell us.

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Recalling Jallianwala martyrs' communal amity as BJP 'warns' of Sitalkuchi everywhere

By Shamsul Islam*  The RSS-BJP rulers declare India to be a battle-ground between Hinduism and Islam. Muslims have been declared as ‘internal threat’ by RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar (“Bunch of Thought”, Chapter xvi). Behaviour of many of their leading cadres, including those who hold high constitutional posts, is such that they seem to be conspiring over-time to ignite a civil war between the two communities. They are under the impression that this would help divert attention from failures of the Hindutva rulers on developmental front.