Tag Archives: indians and smoking

Education and smoking: does the correlation break down in India

By P.R. Ganapathy

I was in India on a business trip recently and some friends took me to a night club in Bandra. It was Friday evening, and while the place was relatively empty when we got there at 9 pm, it quickly filled up with young office workers in their twenties and thirties. Since smoking in bars is not prohibited in India (or at least not enforced), the entire place quickly acquired a thick haze of cigarette smoke. What was particularly striking was the number of women who were lighting up. Over the years, smoking seems to have become especially fashionable among young professionals in general, and women in particular. Anecdotally, smoking rates in general seem much higher there; I have few friends who smoke here in the US, but in India, I frequently ran into colleagues on their way out of the building for a smoke, or on their way back from one.

A recent New York Times article talks about the strong correlation between years spent in school and life expectancy. Interestingly, researchers have found much lower levels of correlation between race, or wealth, and longevity; education stands out as the single largest factor.
So what marks the difference between the more vs. the less educated? Continue reading