Domestic violence tends more to take up smoking, says study

Domestic violence tends more to take up smoking, says study


New York: The families which witness domestic violence tend to have more smokers and tobacco chewers, which could lead to fatal diseases like cancer, according to a new study.

Smoking may act as a “stress reliever" in households that experience domestic violence, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) said in their study based on a large population survey conducted in India.

The Indians who smoke or chew tobacco cite stress relief as one of the reasons for indulging in the practice, the study said adding that it results in some 800,000 deaths in India.

The study, which appeared in the 11 December issue of the journal Tobacco Control, pointed out that the smoking rate for Indian men is around 29%, for women approximately 3%. The rate of tobacco chewing is around 29% for men and 12% for women.

Although rates of tobacco use are low among women, early indications are that the levels are on the rise. While harmful effects of tobacco use are well-documented, there has been little research looking at stressors associated with the habit among Indians.

One of those stressors, or risk factors, found by the researchers is domestic violence, a serious problem in India. Some 40% of Indian women report being slapped, kicked, hit or beaten during their marriages, the study said. Smaller studies in the US have also found an association between domestic violence and smoking.

To see if there was a link between domestic violence and tobacco use in India, researchers used data from the National Family Health Survey, a representative cross-sectional survey administered in India during 1998-1999.