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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

World No Tobacco Day: Tobacco kills 8-9 lakh Indians each year

World Health Organisation observes World No Tobacco Day each year on May 31. Each year has a different theme, and this year’s theme is Tobacco- a threat to development.

health Updated: May 31, 2017 18:52 IST
Close to 275 million Indians consume tobacco in any form
Close to 275 million Indians consume tobacco in any form(HT File photo)

Each year on May 31, World Health Organisation (WHO) observes World No Tobacco Day, and each year there is a dedicated theme to create awareness about consuming tobacco and associated health risks.

This year’s theme for the day is “Tobacco – a threat to development.” It has been scientifically proved that consuming any form of tobacco kills prematurely, making it one of the most preventable causes of cancer, heart disease, stroke etc.

According to government data, the total economic costs attributable to tobacco use from all diseases in India for persons aged 35-69 years is put to ₹ 1,04,500 crores.

Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) data shows one in three tobacco users are killed prematurely through diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke etc.

Mouth and lung are top cancers found in Men in India according to the latest National Cancer Registry that was released last year. Of all the cancers, at least 60% are preventable.

Of the 60% cancers, 40% are due to tobacco use and the remaining 20% is due to infections. The risk of developing cancer can be reduced significantly by discontinuing tobacco use,” said Dr GK Rath, former chief of cancer division at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.

Close to 275 million Indians consume tobacco and out of 5.5 million tobacco-related deaths each year globally, 0.9 million take place in India.

According to experts, by 2020 tobacco-related annual deaths could touch 10 million.

“Lung cancer has gone up by 600 times since 1950 and factors like air pollution and smoking have played a major role in deteriorating the health of our lungs. And not just lungs— from hair to toe nail, every single cell of the body gets affected by tobacco consumption,” says Dr Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant respiratory and critical care, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.

It is a cause of huge concern as the age of starting tobacco consumption is reducing each year.

“I am seeing many youngsters in my Out Patient Department with tobacco-related cancers,” said Dr Harit Chaturvedi, chairman Max Oncology.

Dr Gyandeep Mangal, senior consultant, respiratory medicine, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute also says a growing number of his cancer patients are youngsters.

“It is a worrying trend that a large number of people suffering from lung and mouth cancers are between 25 and 45 years of age.”

The health ministry has launched mass campaigns to generate awareness among people regarding products that have negative health impact.

“Tobacco is killing more people than tuberculosis, HIV AIDS and malaria combined. We have taken strong steps to discourage people from consuming tobacco-related products such as successfully implementing 85% pictorial warnings, not allowing advertisements that promote tobacco and alcohol use and levying a fine for smoking at public places,” said a senior health ministry official.

Tobacco trouble

*274.9 million: Indians who consume tobacco

*0.9 million: tobacco-related deaths in India each year

* One in 3: Tobacco users killed prematurely through cancer, heart disease, stroke etc.

First Published: May 31, 2017 18:32 IST