Shillong: Tobacco use and addiction by school children in Meghalaya is "alarming" even as officials said the usage of the substance by parents and teachers is equally "high", officials said on Thursday.
About 85 percent of teachers use tobacco or tobacco products even as more than 70 percent of parents are addicted to the substance, J Syiemlieh, program DAE-Cancer wing of the Shillong Civil Hospital said.
Syiemlieh was giving a presentation on the tobacco use by school children in Meghalaya, particularly the senior students of secondary schools, as part of the anti-tobacco day celebration in the state.
While the percentage of Class IX-X students who are addicted is about 35 percent (male) while 12 percent of their counterparts are into the habit, statistics said. 50 percent of male students in Ri-Bhoi district are into smoking while Jaintia Hills records about 44 percent.
Girls are not to be left behind in this race as 21 per cent of females in Jaintia Hills are smoking while girls students from West Khasi Hills are not much into the habit recording only at 3.1 percent.
What is alarming is that more than 80 percent of students, both male and female in age group of 14-16, are forced by their peers, Syiemlieh said.
Those who take to smoking by themselves and getting addicted to smoking are also high, she said. The addiction level of school students to smoking in Meghalaya is "high" as compared to the all India Global Youth Tobacco Study, 2006.
The study also found out that exposure to second hand smoke at home and indoors is alarming among students. Less than 20 percent of these students are aware of the COTPA Act, 2006.


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