Tobacco claims 2700 lives a day in India

 World No Tobacco Day Special


Do you know smokeless tobacco is a major cause of heart disease?

We celebrate World No Tobacco Day on 31 May every year, but the irony is still the same or worst that in coming  twenty four hours 2,739 people will loose their lives in India due to cancer caused by the use of tobacco and other tobacco products. On this day alone, in Madhya  Pradesh 348 people will fall prey to cancer. 

Perception doesn't matter...

General perception about smokeless or chewing tobacco is that it is safer than cigarettes and bidis, as it does not cause heart disease. But according to experts, tobacco consumed in any form is injurious to health. Using tobacco whether in form of smoking or chewing causes cancer, heart diseases and other severe ailments. 

Tobacco use is classified as a ‘disease’ under International classification of diseases (ICD-10). This is because the rate of quitting tobacco is very low – only about 3% in India.  With such a low probability of quitting and high probability of tobacco use, leading to a multitude of diseases, the prevalence of tobacco has been rightly termed as the Tobacco Epidemic.

Tobacco and heart diseases...

World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is on May 31 and this year the theme is ‘Tobacco and Heart Disease’. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and its partners will make people aware about the link between tobacco and cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, which when combined becomes world’s leading cause of death. 

Patron of the Voice of Tobacco Victims (VOTV) and Cancer Surgeon Dr. T.P.Sahoo said, “Tobacco is the singlemost known and preventable cause of cardio-vascular death and disability in the world. Chemicals like nicotine are constrictive in nature leading to coronary problems.  It is commonly known that smoking increases the risk of heart disease but the fact is that smokeless forms of tobacco are equally lethal.”

Statistics say...

As per Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2) 2016-17, in India consumption of smokeless tobacco is far more than smoked tobacco. The data shows that 42.4% of men, 14.2% of women and 28.6% of all adults currently either smoke or use smokeless tobacco. As per data, 19% of men, 2% of women and 10.7% of all adult currently smoke tobacco, while 29.6% of men, 12.8% of women and 21.4% of all adults currently use smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco users at 19.9 crores are far more than 10 crore smokers.

In MP, as per GATS-2, 50.2% of men, 17.3% of women and 34.2% of all adults currently either smoke or use smokeless tobacco. As per data,19.02% of men, 0.8% of women and 10.2% of all adult currently smoke tobacco, while 38.7% of men, 16.8% of women and 28.1% of all adults currently consume smokeless tobacco.

Experts speak...

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Professor Surgical Oncology from Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai said, tobacco consumption, in any form, does not spare any of the body parts from its harmful effects.

Even smokeless tobacco causes similar ill effects in direct or indirect forms. Apart from causing direct damage to the vessels of our body, it causes significantly increased mortality after a heart attack, in people consuming smokeless tobacco.”

The health expenditure of the government as well as the society is manifold, more than the revenue and employment generated by all forms of tobacco.

Sanjay Seth, Trustee Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF) said that tobacco use is estimated to cause nearly 10% of all cardiovascular (CV) diseases. Given the large burden of CV diseases in India, the impact of this is huge.  He added that, while governments are budgeting large outlays for setting up healthcare facilities, there should be greater focus on prevention strategies, chief among them being reduction of tobacco usage.

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