Peer pressure was the most common factor for male smokers to take up the habit, while among women smokers, following in the footsteps of mothers who smoked was the most common factor leading to their
Peer pressure was the most common factor for male smokers to take up the habit, while among women smokers, following in the footsteps of mothers who smoked was the most common factor leading to their addiction. Thus revealed a survey on tobacco addiction conducted by city-based Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH).
Around 10 per cent of male smokers confirmed that they had been influenced by peers, while eight per cent of women smokers admitted to taking after their mothers. The TMH survey was conducted across 9,699 families located in four states — Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. The survey covered individuals above 15 years of age and was conducted over a period of one year.
After making adjustments for confounding variables, it was still found that women smokers were nine times more likely to have a mother who smoked and men smokers five times more likely than non-smokers and seven times more likely to have close friends who smoked. It was found that the influence of family members and friends on tobacco use needed to be appropriately addressed in all tobacco control interventions.
It was also found that the same form of tobacco was likely to be used as that of close associates (fathers, mothers, friends or spouses). Plus, users of smokeless tobacco products were likely to have friends or spouses who used the same form of smokeless tobacco product.
Dr Prakash C. Gupta, a consultant at TMH who was in the team of researchers, said, “The findings suggest that tobacco control interventions might be more effective if they specifically address social influences on tobacco, as the significance of having close associates who smoke would extend to the intention of quitting and smoking behaviour. Tobacco use is one of the major causes of disabilities and death, worldwide and in India, with half of the users dying prematurely.”
Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, oncologist and surgeon, TMH, said, “This shows that tobacco use among family members does promote this lethal habit, especially among women. It is well known that tobacco use among family members legitimises the habit in the minds of vulnerable kids, who hold these members as their role models.”
She added: “According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey, there are 275 million tobacco users in India, so the problem is huge.”