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Focus on tobacco control

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, May 28 - Tobacco use is considered a major risk factor for premature deaths. In India, tobacco-related cancers account for all major cancers. Ten lakh people die every year due to tobacco-related diseases in the country and this figure is likely to double by 2020. The prevalence of tobacco consumption in the country is 34 per cent, whereas it is 39.3 per cent in Assam. In other NE States too, tobacco consumption is significantly high. According to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, there are 3,095 chemical components in smokeless tobacco products, of which 28 are proven carcinogens. Some of these carcinogens are poisonous substances like arsenic, DDT, hydrogen cyanide, phenol, mercury, naphthalene, acetone, lead and tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines.

As per the latest report of the Cancer Registry, 49.7 per cent of all cancers in males and 24.1 per cent in females in Kamrup Metro district are tobacco-related. In Dibrugarh district, it is 51.6 per cent in males and 22.8 per cent in females. Similarly, in Cachar district, 46.2 per cent and 20.6 per cent in males and females respectively are tobacco-related cancers. As per the Hospital Based Cancer Registry, tobacco-related cancers at Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute constitute 56 per cent in males and 25.5 per cent in females. At Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, 43.1 per cent in males and 14.1 per cent in females are tobacco-related cancers. It is alarming that 52.3 per cent of adults in India are exposed to second-hand smoke at home and 29.9 per cent at work places and 29 per cent at public places.

In recent years, there have been momentous developments in tobacco control. Collaborative activities involving many organisations have played a major role in this regard. Some of the achievements are progressive increase in the State-level taxes on tobacco products in a large number of States, ban on gutkha in all States, ban on manufactured smokeless tobacco products in at least 11 States, ban on manufactured areca nut products in two States, imposition of 85 per cent pictorial warning labels, Juvenile Justice Act imposing harsh penalties on the sale of tobacco products to minors, Legal Metrology Act effectively banning sale of loose cigarettes and bidis, etc. This has led to the reduction of sale of smokeless tobacco products from less than 600,000 tons in 2008 to less than 100,000 tons in 2013. It is projected that this will reduce further to approximately 10,000 tons by 2018. According to a report of Public Health Foundation, India, the Government of India spent about Rs 10,000 crore for treatment of four major tobacco-related groups of diseases. The Government of Assam in 2011, out of its total health budget of Rs 541.2 crore, spent Rs 157.8 crore for treatment of tobacco-related diseases alone.

Every year, May 31 is celebrated worldwide as �No Tobacco Day.� This year�s theme is �Get ready for plain packaging.� Plain packaging requires removal of all branding. It permits manufacturers to print only the brand name in a mandated size, font and place on the pack, in addition to the health warnings and any other legally mandated information.

The Department of Preventive Oncology of Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), in collaboration with GL Publications, Guwahati, has conducted 10 tobacco awareness camps in Kamrup district, including sensitization workshops at educational institutions like Cotton College and Gauhati University in May. The Institute also organised indoor games for cancer patients and art competitions among students.

Tobacco control has been a real challenge for public health specialists and policy-makers, which demands inter-sectoral coordination and capable human resources. The BBCI, in association with the GLP Social Circle, will felicitate various organisations and individuals for their contribution to tobacco control in Assam in the auditorium of the Institute on May 31. On the occasion, prominent citizens who have given financial aids for treating poor cancer patients will also be feted.

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Focus on tobacco control

GUWAHATI, May 28 - Tobacco use is considered a major risk factor for premature deaths. In India, tobacco-related cancers account for all major cancers. Ten lakh people die every year due to tobacco-related diseases in the country and this figure is likely to double by 2020. The prevalence of tobacco consumption in the country is 34 per cent, whereas it is 39.3 per cent in Assam. In other NE States too, tobacco consumption is significantly high. According to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, there are 3,095 chemical components in smokeless tobacco products, of which 28 are proven carcinogens. Some of these carcinogens are poisonous substances like arsenic, DDT, hydrogen cyanide, phenol, mercury, naphthalene, acetone, lead and tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines.

As per the latest report of the Cancer Registry, 49.7 per cent of all cancers in males and 24.1 per cent in females in Kamrup Metro district are tobacco-related. In Dibrugarh district, it is 51.6 per cent in males and 22.8 per cent in females. Similarly, in Cachar district, 46.2 per cent and 20.6 per cent in males and females respectively are tobacco-related cancers. As per the Hospital Based Cancer Registry, tobacco-related cancers at Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute constitute 56 per cent in males and 25.5 per cent in females. At Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, 43.1 per cent in males and 14.1 per cent in females are tobacco-related cancers. It is alarming that 52.3 per cent of adults in India are exposed to second-hand smoke at home and 29.9 per cent at work places and 29 per cent at public places.

In recent years, there have been momentous developments in tobacco control. Collaborative activities involving many organisations have played a major role in this regard. Some of the achievements are progressive increase in the State-level taxes on tobacco products in a large number of States, ban on gutkha in all States, ban on manufactured smokeless tobacco products in at least 11 States, ban on manufactured areca nut products in two States, imposition of 85 per cent pictorial warning labels, Juvenile Justice Act imposing harsh penalties on the sale of tobacco products to minors, Legal Metrology Act effectively banning sale of loose cigarettes and bidis, etc. This has led to the reduction of sale of smokeless tobacco products from less than 600,000 tons in 2008 to less than 100,000 tons in 2013. It is projected that this will reduce further to approximately 10,000 tons by 2018. According to a report of Public Health Foundation, India, the Government of India spent about Rs 10,000 crore for treatment of four major tobacco-related groups of diseases. The Government of Assam in 2011, out of its total health budget of Rs 541.2 crore, spent Rs 157.8 crore for treatment of tobacco-related diseases alone.

Every year, May 31 is celebrated worldwide as �No Tobacco Day.� This year�s theme is �Get ready for plain packaging.� Plain packaging requires removal of all branding. It permits manufacturers to print only the brand name in a mandated size, font and place on the pack, in addition to the health warnings and any other legally mandated information.

The Department of Preventive Oncology of Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), in collaboration with GL Publications, Guwahati, has conducted 10 tobacco awareness camps in Kamrup district, including sensitization workshops at educational institutions like Cotton College and Gauhati University in May. The Institute also organised indoor games for cancer patients and art competitions among students.

Tobacco control has been a real challenge for public health specialists and policy-makers, which demands inter-sectoral coordination and capable human resources. The BBCI, in association with the GLP Social Circle, will felicitate various organisations and individuals for their contribution to tobacco control in Assam in the auditorium of the Institute on May 31. On the occasion, prominent citizens who have given financial aids for treating poor cancer patients will also be feted.