Smoking kills: Over 23 percent population hooked to tobacco products in valley
Srinagar: A quarter of the valley’s population is
hooked to the destructive habit of tobacco consumption.
Official data of
Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveal that
23.7 percent population of Jammu and Kashmir is using tobacco products in one
form or the other. Over 20.8 percent is in the grip of smoking while rest is
addicted to smokeless tobacco use.
valley has recorded tobacco sales worth Rs 5,530 crore over last seven years.
An official of
the J&K Tobacco Control said huge prevalence of tobacco uses, especially
smoking stems from the fact that Kashmir has become a highly stressful zone.
“People not only
face challenges associated with daily life, but looming uncertainty and
vagaries of weather. When people experience anxiety and stress, they tend to
manage the unpleasant feelings by resorting to the use of substances such as
tobacco,” he said.
termed widespread social acceptance to smoking as a major challenge to Kashmiri
“Smoking is not
seen as a taboo. Plus there is easy availability. Cigarettes are readily being
sold in every nook and corner,” he said.
The official blamed lack of coordination
between various departments responsible for not implementing tobacco control
laws in letter and spirit.
is that supply supersedes the demand. This industry is so huge that it is not
so easy to block the ever increasing supply,” the official stressed.
Services Kashmir, Sameer Mattoo said the implementation of provisions under the
Cigarette and other Tobacco Act, 2003 (COTPA) remains a challenge.
“There should be
a greater awareness on it. Also the National Tobacco Control Programmes need to
be extended to all the districts of J&K. Tobacco kills should be ingrained
in the mind of every person,” Matto said
coordinator Jammu and Kashmir, State Tobacco Control Cell, Dr Mohammad Naser
noted that vendor licensing should be regulated. “With proper legal framework
in place, we will allot license to selected people. This will subsequently
limit the number of vendors and also help us in monitoring the violations,” Dr