Peer pressure, social factors lead to smoking: Survey

Kolkata: A majority of smokers in Kolkata fall prey to the habit between the age group of 16 to 20 and social factors like friends and peer pressure play an important role in picking up the habit.

"Social factors like friends and peer pressure (93 per cent in Kolkata) play a leading part as a trigger to smoking, followed by work pressure," a survey by ICICI Lombard General Insurance said in its report on a month-long survey in Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

"Smoking is seen as a style statement and something that helps in relieving stress," the report said.

The survey is an initiative to reveal and understand the underlying factors behind smoking behaviour.

Stating that 66 per cent of smokers in Kolkata started smoking between 16 and 20 years, it said "Half of the smokers continue the habit as they feel that smoking within limits does not lead to a health issue."

Stating that 225 respondents were from Kolkata, out of which 97 per cent smoked more than once a day and three per cent smoked once a day, it said that 58 per cent of the respondents did not have health insurance.

It said that 92 per cent of Kolkata respondents were highly aware that smoking caused lung cancer, and 29 per cent smoked more than 4-6 cigarettes a day.

It said that five per cent of total cancer claims were tobacco consumption related. Out of this, 75 per cent were claims made by male customers and 25 per cent were by female customers.