Casual and social smoking is on the rise among young working women across metropolitan cities in India, an Assocham report said on Thursday. "Of the total (respondents), only about two per cent said they were heavy smokers (smoking one pack a day or more)... majority of them said that peer pressure and work-related stress pushed them to increase number of cigarettes they smoked," the report said. 

"Some (respondents) even said they smoked for weight loss," it added.

Almost all the respondents said that the phenomenon of women smoking was basically confined to tier-one cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai, according to the report.

Some of the respondents said they smoked "casually owing to the 'cool' factor and...feelings of attractiveness, independence and sophistication".

About 40 per cent of the respondents identified themselves as very light smokers, with a habit of smoking one or two cigarettes either daily or occasionally. About 12 per cent said they were light smokers, smoking two to three cigarettes a day.

Of the remaining 46 per cent, about a fourth said they had quit smoking, the report added.

The survey was conducted by Assocham Social Development Foundation among 2,000 women in the age group of 22-30 years in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region), Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune.

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