Mumbaikars are struggling to kick to butt. In fact, an increasing number of people in the city are now smoking more cigarettes than earlier, saying it relieves stress. A survey conducted by a leading private insurance company has revealed that 41 per cent of the respondents in Mumbai have been smoking more cigarettes in the last 2-3 years, while only 14 per cent succeeded in giving up the habit. A whopping 81 per cent of tobacco users said they smoked during work hours.
As part of the ICICI Lombard survey, 1,111 respondents in Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Hyderabad were interviewed to find out the pattern of tobacco consumption and social, psychological factors influencing their lifestyle.
As many as 62 per cent of the respondents said smoking was a good stress reliever. While 54 per cent blamed work pressure for the habit, 42 per cent cited personal problems as the reason for their addiction. Nine out of 10 respondents said tried to quit the habit, but heavy addiction was a major hindrance. Interestingly, even the stringent rules under the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act failed to deter more than half the respondents to give up smoking.
Sanjay Datta, chief, underwriting and claims, ICICI Lombard GIC Ltd, said: "The findings indicate that a lot needs to be done to motivate people to quit the unhealthy habit of tobacco consumption and opt for health insurance for their financial safety." The study found that 45 per cent of the people surveyed had health insurance. Mumbai had the maximum number of insurance policies covering tobacco-related ailments.
More than 80 per cent of the respondents said they were aware that smoking cigarettes/chewing tobacco caused cancer of the lung, mouth and throat.
May 31 is observed as World No Tobacco Day. This year, the World Health Organisation is campaigning to "raise taxes on tobacco" to help reduce consumption. The Tata Memorial Hospital has written to the government, asking health officials to raise taxes on tobacco.
"This year, WHO has kept the theme to 'raise taxes on tobacco'. This effort is aimed at making all forms of tobacco inaccessible and thus curb the menace of tobacco-related cancer," said Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, onco-surgeon at Tata Memorial Hospital.
Up in smoke
41% of respondents in Mumbai said they are smoking more cigarettes in the last 2-3 years
14% succeeded in smoking less
62% said smoking helped relieve stress
54% smoked because of work pressure
42% blamed personal problems for habit
50 % (in Mumbai) smoked 4-5 cigarettes a day