42% decline in tobacco use among 13-15 years school going children in last decade

New Delhi : Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare today presided over the release of National Fact Sheet Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS-4), India, 2019.

The Union Health Minister emphasized the role of teachers as most crucial in creating awareness among children and their parents about harm due to tobacco use and for shaping the attitude of children in this regard. He said, “The more and the sooner, we create awareness among children about harms due to tobacco use, the better will be the outcomes in terms of reduction in prevalence of tobacco use among children and consequently among adults.” ‘Harmful effects of tobacco use’ should be incorporated in school curricula at various levels starting right from the primary school level, he added.

The fourth round of Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS-4) was conducted in 2019 by the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). The survey was designed to produce national estimates of tobacco use among school going children aged 13-15 years at the state level and Union Territory (UT) by sex, location of school (rural-urban), and management of school (public-private). The first three rounds of GYTS were conducted in 2003, 2006 and 2009.

A total of 97,302 students from 987schools (Public-544; Private-443) participated in the survey. Of which, 80,772 students aged 13-15 years were considered for reporting.The objective of the survey was to provide information on tobacco use, cessation, second-hand smoke, access and availability, exposure to anti-tobacco information, awareness and receptivity to tobacco marketing, knowledge, and attitudes.

The Minister was also apprised of the key findings of the Survey:

Tobacco use

  • Nearly one-fifth of the students aged 13-15 used any form of the tobacco product (smoking, smokeless, and any other form) in their life. However, the current use (during last 30 days) was 8.5%. Between the last two surveys, the current use declined by 42% (2009-2019).
  • Prevalence of tobacco use among boys was 9.6% and among girls was 7.4%.
  • The prevalence of smoking tobacco was 7.3%. In case of smokeless tobacco product, the prevalence was4.1%.
  • Ever use of e-cigarette among the studentswas 2.8%.
  • Use of any form of tobacco was higher among boys than girls.
  • The current use of tobacco among students across the States/ UTs ranged from the highest in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram (58% each) to the lowest in Himachal Pradesh (1.1%) and Karnataka (1.2%).

Age of initiation of tobacco

  • 38% of cigarette, 47% of bidi smokers and 52% of smokeless tobacco users initiated the use before their 10th birthday. The median age at initiation of cigarette and bidi smoking, and smokeless tobacco use were 11.5 years, 10.5 years and 9.9 years respectively.


  • 2 in 10 current smokers tried to quit smoking in the past 12 months and another 2 in 10 students wanted to quit smoking now.
  • 27%of current users of smokeless tobacco tried to quit using in past 12 months and another 25% wanted to quit now.

Second-hand smoke

  • 29.5% of the students were exposed to second-hand smoke (11.2% at home, 21.2% inside enclosed public places, 23.4 at outdoor public places).

Access & availability

  • 69% of current cigarette smokers and 78% of current bidi smokers bought cigarettes/bidis from a store, paan shop, street vendor or vending machine.
  • Among the current smokers who bought cigarette/bidi, 45% of cigarette smokers and 47% of bidi smokers were not refused because of their age.

Media and anti-tobacco messages

  • 52% of students noticed anti-tobacco messages in the mass media.
  • 18% of students noticed tobacco advertisements or promotions when visiting points of sale.

Knowledge & attitudes

  • 71% of students thought other people’s cigarette smoking is harmful to them.
  • 58% of students favoured ban on smoking inside enclosed public places.

School policy

  • 85% of school heads were aware of COTPA, 2003.
  • 83% of schools were aware of the policy to display ‘tobacco-free school’ board.

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