While 21.1 percent of young men (15-24 years) are prone to the smoking habit, 22.2 percent of men between the ages of 55 and 64 gravitated towards smokeless tobacco products, shows the study conducted in rural areas of Thiruvananthapuram district.
The results of the study, conducted by the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology here, have been summarised in an article titled 'Incidence of Tobacco Use Among Adults (15-64 years) in Rural Kerala' published in a recent edition of Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health.
The study evaluated the incidence of current smoking and current smokeless tobacco use over a seven-year period in a sample of 452 males and females aged 15 to 64 years.
At the start of the study in 2003, of the total of 452 people, 385 were current non-smokers and 402 were current non-users of smokeless tobacco.
A follow-up conducted in 2010 showed that 14.3 percent and 14.2 percent men became current smokers and current smokeless tobacco users, respectively.
Current smokers and current smokeless tobacco users are defined as those who used any of these products in the last 30 days.
Smoking products include cigarettes and bidis while smokeless tobacco products included in the study are snuff, betel quid with tobacco, gutkha or khaini.
The study also throws up the trend of smokeless tobacco use among women when 9.7 percent of older women (55-64 years) became current smokeless tobacco users.
While there is seen a shift of preference from smoking to smokeless tobacco among men, it does not, however, translate itself to total abstinence from smoking.
The study observed that a high 45.5 percent continued smoking even when they took up smokeless tobacco use and none of the new smokeless tobacco users quit its use when they took up smoking.
T. Sathish, principal author of the study report, said the only way out is to effectively implement the relevant law.
In India, smoking is prohibited in public places since Oct 2, 2008 under the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Rules, 2008 and Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.
--IANS (Posted on 30-08-2013)