Kota: An equal number of women as men consume tobacco in the southeastern Hadouti region of Rajasthan, raising social and health concerns in the state, a survey has revealed.
The ratio of men and women consuming tobacco in Hadouti, comprising Kota, Bundi, Jhalawar and Baran districts, stood at 1:1 as against the national ratio of 5:1, according to a survey conducted by Rajasthan Voluntarily Health Association (RVHA).
While the average age of men consuming tobacco in the region is 17 years that of women has been found to be 14, said Vikram Raghav, project director of RVHA.
Easy accessibility of tobacco products and insensitivity of police to act under sections of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 ((Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) are the major factors to have led such a situation, RVHA observed.
Over 72,000 people die every year due to tobacco related diseases in the state and 350 new consumers are coming up daily, he said terming it as "a matter of great concern for the government".
Raghav called up on the government to utilise the revenue earned from the sales of tobacco products for raising awareness on highlighting harms of its use and also to sensitise public on the issue.
"Police officers of the division have already been instructed to take action against those found using tobacco products or smoking cigarettes at public places,"Inspector General of Police, Kota range Ravi Prakash said.
MLA Kota North, Prahlad Gunjal, also expressed concern over the rising number of women and teenager tobacco consumers and called for increased awareness on the issue.