I lost my booming voice, says nicotine addict | india | Hindustan Times
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I lost my booming voice, says nicotine addict

He’s a cancer surgeon, a cancer survivor and, yet, a chain smoker. Dr Rajendra Kerkar (47), who works at Tata Memorial Hospital, is living proof of the fact that nicotine is extremely addictive. Neha Bhayana reports.

india Updated: May 30, 2009 00:59 IST
Neha Bhayana

He’s a cancer surgeon, a cancer survivor and, yet, a chain smoker. Dr Rajendra Kerkar (47), who works at Tata Memorial Hospital, is living proof of the fact that nicotine is extremely addictive.

Half of his tongue was cut off to save his life when he was diagnosed with cancer in 1988, making his speech slurred.
But Dr Kerkar, who started smoking at the age of 16, has not been able to kick the habit till today.

“I stayed away from cigarettes for five years after being diagnosed with cancer but I got back,” said Dr Kerkar. “Once you are in the clutches of nicotine, it is extremely difficult to escape.”

“People should not only be made aware of the harmful effects of smoking but also how addictive it is,” he added.

He and other cancer patients had come together at an event organised by Tata Memorial Hospital and the Healis Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health on the eve of World No Tobacco Day on Friday.

“I was really proud of my booming voice but I lost it,” said cancer survivor Deepak Kumar (59), additional commissioner of Excise.

Kumar’s larynx (voice box) was removed due to cancer last year. A hole was made in his neck, through which he now breathes. To talk, he has to cover the hole with his thumb.

“I am happy I have survived but this is no life. My family and I live in the fear that the cancer will recur,” said Kumar.
The patients also stressed on the importance of pictorial warnings on tobacco products. Kumar said, “People say smoking is an informed choice. But they have no idea of how harmful and addictive it is.”