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Correlates of tobacco quit attempts and cessation in the adult population of India: secondary analysis of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 2009–10

Swati Srivastava1*, Sumit Malhotra2, Anthony D Harries34, Pranay Lal5 and Monika Arora1

Author Affiliations

1 Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi, India

2 All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

3 International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), Paris, France

4 Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

5 International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), South-East Asia Regional Office, New Delhi, India

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:263  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-263

Published: 22 March 2013



Nearly 275 million adults (15 years and above) use tobacco in India, which contributes substantially to potentially preventable morbidity and mortality. There is good evidence from developed country settings that use of tobacco cessation services influences intention to quit, with a higher proportion of attempts being successful in fully quitting. There is little evidence about cessation and quitting behaviour in the Indian context. This study assesses the socio-demographic characteristics and cessation services used by adults i) who attempted to quit smoked and smokeless tobacco and ii) who were successful in quitting.


The study was a cross-sectional secondary data analysis of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, India, 2009–10. There were 25,175 ever tobacco users aged 21 years and above included in the study. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis was done to determine associations between socio-demographic variables and cessation services utilized with attempts to quit tobacco and successful quitting.


Of the ever tobacco users, 10,513 (42%) made an attempt to quit tobacco, and of these 4,395 (42%) were successful. Significant associations were demonstrated between male gender, increasing educational attainment and higher asset quintiles for both those who attempted to quit and those who were successful. Younger age groups had higher odds of quit attempts than all except the oldest age group, but also had the lowest odds of successful quitting. Heath care provider advice was positively associated with attempts to quit, but both advice and use of cessation aids were not associated with successful quitting.


This study provides the first national evidence on the relationships between quitting attempts and successful quitting with socio-demographic characteristics, health care provider advice and use of cessation services. The findings of the study have important implications for scaling up tobacco cessation services in India, and indicate a need to re-examine in greater detail the effects of socio-demographic factors, type of tobacco product used and levels of dependency on quitting. Health system factors such as coverage and accessibility of cessation services, type of service, and its duration and follow up also have to be examined in detail to ascertain effects on quitting behavior.

Tobacco; Cessation; Health system; India