On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day, a survey has pointed out that a majority of India’s population believes that stopping the sale of loose cigarettes can be instrumental in deterring smoking among people. The survey, “The Pulse of the Nation Poll” conducted jointly by Inshorts and Ipsos, included 8,179 unique participants between the age group of 18 and 30. Most of the participants were male. From effectiveness of warning graphics on cigarette boxes to the motivations behind smoking a cigarette, the poll recorded responses on various topics to map the trends about tobacco consumption. Few of the key findings include

Ban on Loose Cigarettes

About 59 per cent Indians believe that ban on single sticks will reduce the number of smokers in the country. Availability of cigarettes without any hassle makes it simpler for the smokers to sneak-in a stick at any point of the day. Also, the fact that a single stick is far more affordable than the whole pack makes it an attractive offer for the youngsters who manage to puff a smoke easily in a nearby paan-shop. About 61 per cent of active smokers also share a similar viewpoint.

In fact, the government of India had also come up with a proposal to support the prohibition on sale of unpacked cigarettes. Many states like Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh do not allow the trading of single sticks.

Graphic Images and Healthcare Expert

The poll also suggests that 69 per cent Indians disprove the idea of warning images on cigarette packs as a disincentive. In India more than three-quarters of space on packets of cigarettes and other tobacco products is given to warn people about the harmful effects of smoking. It is also mandatory for films to show a statutory warning before the movie begins and also in any scene where tobacco consumption is shown. A number of people have however said it serves no purpose.

“Our survey shows that health experts’ advice on ills of smoking are taken more seriously vis-à-vis Warning Visuals on Cigarette Packs,” says Parijat Chakraborty, executive director, India, Ipsos Public Affairs. In fact, 83 per cent respondents said they reduced the number of cigarettes based on experts’ advice.

single cigarettes, cigarettes, smoking, tobacco consumption, world tobacco day,Freedom to choice

About 55 per cent participants also believed that tobacco purchasers must be given no freedom to choose the product that they wish to consume. The active smokers, however, did not agree with this. While 60 per cent of non-smokers supported the notion of no-freedom-of-choice, 52 per cent of smokers felt that the choice of consumption lied with them.

Government’s Role

A lot is expected from the government as well, suggests the survey. Around 68 per cent of respondents reiterated that the government needs to bring up stringent rules and awareness programmes in order to reduce the problem of chewing tobacco.