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

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

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".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

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.

Gujarat literati flutter: State Akademi autonomy curb a Sahitya Parishad poll issue?

By Dankesh Oza*
The 115-year-old Gujarati Sahitya Parishad is in election mode. More than 3,000 life members of the Parishad are set to elect its 52nd president and 40 plus central working committee (CWC) members, which in turn will elect its executive and two vice presidents, six secretaries and a treasurer for the coming three years (from 2021 to 2023).

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Agricultural reform? Small farmers will be more vulnerable, corporates to 'fix' price

By Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
Agriculture employs 42% of the total work force whereas it contributes only 16% to the country’s GDP. The average annual growth rate in agriculture has remained static to 2.9% since the last six years. This means that the post-green revolution conventional agriculture has reached its peak. Responsiveness of soil fertility to fertiliser application, an indicator of stagnancy in agriculture, shows declining trend since 1970. The worst sufferer has been the small and marginal farmers who constitute 86% of total farmers.