Pune: Casual and social smoking is on the rise among young working women across metros in India, noted a recent survey by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India's (ASSOCHAM) Social Development Foundation.
The study analysed a sample of about 2,000 women between ages 22 and 30 years in 10 urban centres namely Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune over four weeks. The survey was conducted to ascertain smoking behaviour and patterns in young working women, many of whom consider it a 'stress buster'.
The survey found that only two per cent women said they were heavy smokers, that is, they smoke a pack a day or more, while a majority said that peer pressure and work-related stress pushed them to increase the number of cigarettes they smoked.
The shocking part was some women said that they smoked for weight loss. Almost all of them belonged to top tier cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. About 12 per cent said they were light smokers, that is two to three cigarettes a day. Of the total, about 40 per cent identified themselves as very light smokers with a habit of smoking 1 to 2 cigarettes either daily or occasionally. Many of these, however, said they mostly smoked when drunk and that too socially.
Of the remaining 46 per cent, about one-fourth said they had quit smoking. Many of these said they started smoking while entering adulthood and during college. On being asked the reason for why they quit smoking, majority of them said it is owing to fear of ill-effects of smoking on conceiving or fertility and high risk disorders like breast cancer.
The rest said they had never smoked and many said they were averse to smoking. Most said that horrifying warning pictures and graphics on cigarette cases explaining harmful effects of smoking worked as a smoking deterrent.
DS Rawat, ASSOCHAM Secretary General, while releasing the findings of the survey, said that growing number of young working women, mostly with high paying jobs and an active life, are indulging in social smoking. "But they must realise it is ‘uncool’ and that they are placing their heart health at risk by occasionally indulging in cigarettes. More and more number of young women can be seen around commercial hubs in metros enjoying a smoke comfortably with their colleagues, this is certainly a disturbing trend," said Rawat.