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Background: Tobacco use has been identified as a risk factor and causes negative outcomes to the COVID 19 pandemic. Adolescents’ tobacco users in India are the vulnerable population to acquire COVID-19 in the future. The study aimed to understand tobacco consumption patterns among adolescents in India to highlight the vulnerability of this population to COVID-19 infection.
Methods: The Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) reports were identified and recovered from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data sets. The findings of the surveys in 2003, 2006, and 2009 were compared with respect to the prevalence of cigarette smoking and other tobacco use, and the determinants of initiation of tobacco use among the adolescent population.
Results: The total tobacco consumption among adolescents was found to have increased from 13.7% in 2006 to 14.6% in 2009. All forms of tobacco use were higher in boys than girls across all three survey periods. Also, the trend of bidi (smoked tobacco form) use had increased in both genders. A reduction in exposure to Second Hand Smoke, with an increase in cessation services, media campaigns, and tobacco-related school curriculum was noted. If the increase in tobacco consumption between 2006 and 2009 had continued at the same rate then in 2021 around 18% of adolescents are estimated to consume tobacco in some form.
Conclusion: The significant overall tobacco use and increasing bidi consumption makes the adolescent group more susceptible to COVID-19 infection. This indicates an imperative need to include this age group for COVID-19 management to reduce the burden on health care.
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