Tobacco smoking in India: prevalence, quit-rates and respiratory morbidity

Indian J Chest Dis Allied Sci. Jan-Mar 2006;48(1):37-42.


Background: Population prevalence of tobacco smoking especially with reference to detailed habits such as the amount smoked, the smoking forms, quit-rates and relationship with demographic variables were studied at four different centres in India along with the study on epidemiology of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Methods: The study population included adults of over 15 years of age selected with two-stage stratified random sample design. A specifically designed questionnaire was used for the study.

Results: There were 11496 (15.6%) ever smokers in the study sample of 73605 subjects. Among 37682 males, 10756 (28.5%) were ever smokers and among 35923 females, 740 (2.1%) were ever smokers. Bidi was the commonest form of smoking, more so in the rural areas. The mean number of cigarettes/bidis smoked per day was 14 (+/- 11.5) and the mean age of starting smoking was 20.5 (+/- 20.0) years. Increasing age, low socio-economic status and rural residence were important factors associated with smoking. Vigorous anti-tobacco measures under the tobacco control programmes yielded only a quit-rate of 10 percent. Nearly 14% of ever smokers had some respiratory symptoms.

Conclusions: A substantial proportion of population in India has current or past smoking habit with higher prevalence among males than females. The quit-rates have been low in spite of the various anti-tobacco measures. There is a significant respiratory morbidity associated with smoking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*