Growing Women Smokers in India
- By Sam George
- Published 03/13/2009
Sam George is the Executive Director of PARIVAR International - a non-profit initiative to address the needs of youth and families of Asian Indian origin in North America and to the Asian Indian community worldwide. Parivar means family in many Indian languages. Sam George also serves as one of the founding directors of Urban India Ministries
www.UrbanIndia.org Sam George and his wife, Mary have spoken at premarital and family events in many countries. They are parents of two boys and make their home in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Sam is the author of the book “Understanding the Coconut Generation: Ministry to the Americanized Asian Indians." Check out this website www.CoconutGeneration.com Coconut (brown on the outside, white on the inside) is a metaphor for the Americanized Asian Indians. Sam George can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Urban Indian women are leaving a new trail - smoke. Women are catching up fast and narrowing the gap across gender lines in the domain of smoking or chewing tobacco. See a report in India Today. It is based on a World Health Organization’s global survey of tobacco usage.
Here are some disturbing finding:
31% women tobacco addicts in India are between age 15-49.
25% Indian women light up over 10 cigarettes per day.
62% of women smokers die in their prime compared to 38% of those who don’t.
1 in 20 women in India to die between age 30-69 due to tobacco in 2010s.
20% girls in Delhi and Chennai studying in Class 6 smoke (AIIMS study)
87% Hindi movies show onscreen smoking;
26% have a heroine who smokes.
In spite of the labeling that ’smoking is injurious to health’, tobacco companies continue to market new and imprved version to younger generations. Targeting women and young kids is a great marketing strategy, but why we don’t learn the damage it has caused to men and older generations. Why are bent on repeating mistakes all over again. Interesting that now they have a pink cigarette too!
Social stigma is out and new trendy fashion statement is drawing scores of women to this addictive habit. “Me too” attitude among women and want to stand on equal footing with man prevails among modern urban Indian women. Smoking becomes a way of keeping up with men. They will not let gender disparity happen in tobacco consumption as well. How foolish!
Some blame the media for promoting it, while other find government regulation insufficient. Bollywood now portrays many women smokers. Magazines continue to circumvent the advertisement ban on tobacco products. Sporting events continues to carry billboard of cigarette makers. Industry is promoting smoking as a cultural icon of sophistication, glamour and sexual allure and there is a large middle class women falling prey to it.
Check out here for resource to help youth quit smoking: Anti-Smoking Teen health.