India Intelligence Report

Increased Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drug Addiction


A recent study found that peer pressure; surrogate advertisements of cigarette and alcohol companies, and movies are influencing high school and pre-university youth in the 15-18 age group to abuse tobacco, drugs, and alcohol. A joint study by Link De-Addiction and Counseling Center and Indo-Global Social Service Society studied 2835 students in Mangalore and found that 20.11% boys and 4.53% girls use tobacco and 26.6% boys and 10.33% girls consume alcohol. Of this group, 11.17% are regular drinkers.

In an alarming new trend, 6.31% of boys and 1.18% of girls admit to using drugs. Among the boys, 15.09% say that they like brown sugar, heroin, etc, 37.73% smoke cannabis like ganja, and 47.18% abuse medical drugs like cough syrups, pain killers, and sleeping tablets. Of the sample, 23.28% do drugs daily, 16.43% weekly, and 60.29% occasionally.

This alarming trend in a sleepy third-level town such as Mangalore is alarming because one can only guess the figures in urban areas that take pride of its pub-culture such as Bangalore. Lack of age verification and adequate alcohol testing and enforcement by police coupled with the availability of disposable income in families leading to generous pocket money is fuelling the trend for children to abuse these substances.


The most disturbing trend of this report is how children are influenced by surrogate advertisements and glorification of smoking in movies to pick up a habit that will have a debilitating effect on their health. The Federal Minister of Health Anbumani Ramdoss tried to introduce a policy that will ban smoking in movies but that well-intentioned policy was not well thought out. Instead of trying to caption older movies, he must insist on some easy to implement schemes.

Firstly, he must insist that bars demand age verification and impose strict fines on them for admitting underage customers and notifications to the parents of the children. Secondly, he must introduce legislation that will prohibit advertisements of any products or companies that have names of alcohol or cigarette brand names. Thirdly, he must insist on proper labeling of over-the-counter products that contain alcohol such as cough syrups so parents would know how much alcohol their children are consuming.