Predictors of Tobacco Use among Youth in India: GATS 2009-2010 Survey

  • Sharma, Shailja (Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, Kangra at Tanda, Himachal Pradesh) ;
  • Singh, Mitasha (Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, Kangra at Tanda, Himachal Pradesh) ;
  • Lal, Pranay (Technical Advisor (Tobacco Control), The Union, South-East Asia Office, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease) ;
  • Goel, Sonu (School of Public Health, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research)
  • Published : 2015.12.03


Background: Early initiation of smoking and chewing of diverse forms of tobacco among youth in India is a significant driver for tobacco epidemic in India. Several socio-demographic factors are predictors of tobacco use in populations, especially among youth. Interventions which address these socio-demographic factors can help policy makers to curb new initiations and avert morbidity and mortality due to tobacco use. Objective: To study the various sociodemographic variables associated with tobacco use among youth in India. Materials and Methods: Secondary analysis of data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey-India 2009-10 for the age group of 15-24 years was performed and predictors of smoking and smokeless tobacco were analyzed using data on occupation, education, and other sociodemographic factors. Results: In India there are a total of 51.3 million (22.1%) youth (15-24 years) tobacco users. Of these 35.1 million consumes chewable tobacco (15.1%), 16.2 million smoke (7%) and 1.6 million are dual users (3.1%). Males, urban, less educated, un-employed and those belonging to middle class preferred smoking over chewing; whereas, females, rural, students and those belonging to low socio-economic class are predictors of smokeless tobacco use. The major determinants of dual users are male sex, poor socio-economic strata and student class. The overall tobacco use was higher among males, rural populations, lower socioeconomic strata and un-employed class. Conclusions: India's youth is more susceptible to the tobacco addiction, especially of smokeless tobacco. Youth from rural India especially students, girls and those from poor socio-economic strata prefer to use smokeless tobacco products whereas urban, male and those less educated prefer smoking tobacco products. More population-based and region-focused research is needed to understand initiation patterns into tobacco use among youth so as to inform policymakers to devise new policy measures to curb the growing epidemic.


Predictors;socioeconomic factors;youth;GATS;India


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