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Socioeconomic and demographic correlates of tobacco use and alcoholic consumption among Indian women
Authors: GK Mini
Source: Indian Journal of Community Medicine, 32(2): 150-151; DOI: 10.4103/0970-0218.35662
Topic(s): Alcohol consumption
Tobacco use
Women's health
Country: Asia
Published: JUN 2007
Abstract: In the traditional Indian system, the acceptance of lifestyle indicators such as tobacco use and alcohol consumption varies between socioeconomic groups and between genders. [1],[2] The present study is designed to estimate the prevalence, and the socioeconomic and demographic correlates, of tobacco use and alcohol consumption among ever-married women in India. The nationally represented cross-sectional survey of NFHS-II, which was conducted between November 1998 and March 1999, is used as a tool in this study. [3] The present study covers a sample of 90 303 ever-married women in the reproductive age-group in India. Univariate and bivariate techniques were used for analysis of data. The overall prevalence of smoking and tobacco chewing among ever-married women in India is 2.6% and 11.6%, respectively. About 2.8% of women in India drink alcohol. There is interstate variation in the prevalence of these behavioral factors. More than three-fourth of the women in Mizoram are users of chewing tobacco; Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh are the other states showing a high prevalence of tobacco chewing among women. It is to be noted that more than half of the women in Arunachal Pradesh were users of alcohol at the time of the survey. States like Kerala, New Delhi, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh showed a comparatively low prevalence. The prevalence of tobacco and alcohol consumption by the socio-economic status is given in [Table - 1]. The odds for use of chewing tobacco is three times higher among older women, for smoking it is more than five times higher, and for alcohol consumption the odds are twice that in younger age-groups. Educational attainment is negatively associated with tobacco chewing, as demonstrated by the high prevalence (14.1%) among illiterate women. Compared to the Hindus the chance of being a user of any form of tobacco is higher for Muslims, Christians, and some other religious groups, whereas the odds for alcoholic consumption is higher for Hindus. Sikh women are unique in that they neither use alcohol nor any form of tobacco. Schedule tribe women are 10.5 times more likely to use alcohol than forward caste women. Lower standard of living is significantly associated with the higher prevalence of these indicators. The odds for smoking are three times higher for women from lower socioeconomic strata. Addressing the socioeconomic and demographic correlates could be an important step for anti-tobacco movements, especially in the community setting. The positive association between lower socioeconomic status and the prevalence of these indicators is likely to increase the disease burden among the poor, who may not be able to afford the costs involved in the treatment of these avoidable lifestyle-related diseases. Anti-tobacco programmes should concentrate on the socioeconomically and demographically backward groups and special attention must be paid to smokeless tobacco use among women.