Smoking Trends in Kashmir: Quit before it kills you
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Smoking Trends in Kashmir: Quit before it kills you

J&K has a tobacco use rate of 23.7%, a smoking rate of 20.8%, and a smokeless tobacco use rate of 4.3%

Post by on Wednesday, August 24, 2022

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The use of tobacco and other related products are showing a radical increase world over and India seems no exception. However, what is stupefying is the numbers that are continuously coming under the effect of smoking. As per the 2016-17 GATS (Global Adult Tobacco Survey), J&K has a tobacco use rate of 23.7%, a smoking rate of 20.8%, and a smokeless tobacco use rate of 4.3%. Srinagar, Anantnag, and Baramulla are the three areas in Kashmir that spend the most money each year on tobacco goods. At least for the last 30 years, efforts to dissuade people especially adolescents from smoking have centred nearly solely on school-based cessation interventions. This strategy is partly predicated on the fact that almost all people who smoke commence smoking even around threshold of 18 years. The appropriateness of this method, as well as conventional preconceptions concerning adult smoking behaviours, is being called into question by studies on current trends of smoking amongst young people in Kashmir.


Smoking habits among young individuals may not be as set in stone as previously believed. One fifth of current smokers started smoking after the age of 18, which is a significant rise from previous standards, according to a recent poll. Statistics from the tobacco business show this shift from first cigarette to "proven" smoker as taking place over the course of a number of years, which may last until the age of 25. The percentage of adolescent individuals in Kashmir who smoke only on rare occasions seems to be larger than the fraction of older smokers, with significant shifts across daily and non-daily usage. Smoking cessation and behavioural changes are on the rise, but there isn't enough evidence to say whether or not this is a permanent shift especially in Kashmir. As a result of substantial life changes, young people may exhibit a wide range of tobacco use habits. Smoking may become more appealing to adolescent and young adult smokers alike because of the frequent upheaval in one's personal and social networks, as well as in one's living and working circumstances.


In these transitional years, the comforting impact of the peer group and relative stability in life are replaced with the emergence of one's individual, societal, and vocational aspirations. Throughout adolescence, smoking may serve the purpose of tying a person closer to his or her key peer group. For adults, it may help alleviate the tension that comes with pursuing one's dreams. Smoking, for a youthful adult, may accomplish both of these functions, offering a tangible equilibrium in the midst of the chaos and turmoil of adult life in Kashmir. As a result, young individuals may be more vulnerable to tobacco business advertising as they advance into adulthood. Smoking commencement and exploration are only two of the phases that the tobacco business has devised marketing methods to help smokers go from novice to regular. Tobacco companies have done an enormous job of getting their ads in front of young folks in the places where they go to work and hang out. Cigarette businesses are gradually turning to mainstream news and unstructured marketing strategies to reach young people and avoid advertising prohibitions. Evidence from several sources shows that advertising and promotions directed at young adults continue to connect with youngsters.


The subsequent evaluation must focus on young people, who may provide the greatest possibility for future decreases in recurrence. For young people, the same elements that promote their receptiveness to pro-tobacco messaging are also a source of opportunity for avoidance and discontinuation of smoking. There are several reasons why smoking cessation efforts aren't as successful as they might be; including the fact that many young individuals aren't ready to give up smoking until they're in their late teens or early 20s.


Tobacco control advocates should take the tobacco industry's recommendations more seriously. Young adult smokers have been the essential factor in the rise and collapse of each prominent trademark and business over the past 50 years. The cigarette business will suffer the same fate as a population that ceases to reproduce if young people refuse to smoke.


(Author is Post Doctoral Fellow, University of Kashmir)

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