Raising taxes on tobacco effectiveway to reduce its usage: Expert

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
  • Updated: May 31, 2014 22:28 IST

An awareness seminar was held at Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital to mark World No Tobacco Day here on Saturday. The seminar was largely attended by patients, attendants, nursing students and the staff of the hospital.

Dr Rajinder Gulati, head of the paediatrics department, highlighting the health risks associated with the tobacco use, said, “There are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, of which at least 250 are known to be extremely harmful and more than 50 can cause cancer.”

He added that more than five million of those who die every year were the result of direct tobacco usage while over 6,00,000 were due to non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

India is the second largest consumer of tobacco products in the world.

Dr Gulati said that people exposed to second-hand smoke increased risk of developing heart disease by 25 to 30% and lung cancer by 20 to 30%. “The second-hand smoke reduces lung function, causes coughing and respiratory infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Children exposed to second-hand smoke have an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, ear problems, and severe asthma,” he added.

Dr RK Karkara, senior medical officer, said that raising taxes on tobacco was the most effective policy to reduce the tobacco use. “This year's theme also signifies the importance of raising taxes on tobacco to reduce tobacco consumption and saving lives,” he added.

Dr Abnash Kumar, district health officer, said, “For the implementation of “smoke-free rules”, we have strong tobacco control laws. Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act 2003, Section (4), prohibit smoking in public places. Any violation of this act is a punishable offence with fine up to `200.

Others present on the occasion were Dr Anil Verma, district epidemiologists, Manoj Khosla, Gurpreet Kaur and Ravinder Pal Garg.

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