Mizo smokers trying to kick the habit: Study

Last Updated: Thursday, May 27, 2010 - 00:00

Aizawl: More than 20 per cent of Mizo
smokers have kicked the habit in the past one decade, raising
hopes among social activists that Mizoram will shake off the
ignominy of being the highest tobacco consumer.

A survey conducted by the Mizoram State Tobacco Control
Society has found that more and more smokers are of late
kicking the butt.

Jane Ralte, programme officer of MSTC, said that the
survey, conducted among 2,500 people above 18 years of age in
eight districts of Mizoram, found that as much as 73.1 per
cent of smokers wanted to quit smoking.

The survey reveals that while 55 per cent still smoked, 45
per cent are non-smokers or who had quit the habit.

As many as 50.8 per cent of the smokers said they did
not enjoy smoking, while 37.5 per cent still do and 84.2 per
cent admitted that their expenditure on cigarettes was a
financial burden.

The survey also found that 89.60 per cent agreed that
smoking was harmful to health, but 6.80 per cent did not
think so and 3.60 per cent had no opinion.

In all, 85.3 per cent are aware that passive smoking is
equally harmful to others, while as many as 10.3 per cent did
not think so.

Even as the state government prepares to enforce the
Control of Tobacco Products Act (COPTA) more stringently, 80.3
per cent of the people are aware of the act while 19.7 are
not.

However, only 18.9 per cent of those interviewed were
aware that the COPTA has been in force in Mizoram but among
those who were aware of the existence of the act did not
realise that it has already been introduced in the state.

"This clearly shows the need for strict enforcement of
the act," said Ralte, adding that a mass awareness campaign is
the need of the hour.

With funding from US-based Bloomberg Initiatives, the
Mizoram State Tobacco Control Society, has embarked upon the
mission of making Mizoram a smoker-free state.

"As of now, we have many miles to go to achieve our
mission. But, the development so far is positive," said Lal
Riliani, president of Indian Society for Tobacco and Health
(Mizoram Chapter) and wife of the state chief minister Lal
Thanhawla says.

Another survey conducted by the National Family Health
Survey has found that about 77 per cent of the population use
tobacco in one form or the other.

Although women in Mizoram understand the ill effects of
tobacco, a staggering 60 per cent of them consume it in
various forms making them the most cancer-prone in the
country.

While the national average of women smokers is 2.5 per
cent, more than 22 per cent Mizo women smoked tobacco.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, May 27, 2010 - 00:00

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