GUWAHATI, July 8 � Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, after listening to a few cancer patients in the city recently, gave his commitment to fight the menace of chewing tobacco products like gutka and khaini. The victims had met him to get his support to ban the sale of such products. The move has been seen as a positive sign by those calling for strong action against chewing tobacco, the most potent cause of oral cancer.
In a meeting with oral cancer patients, doctors and tobacco control advocates, the Chief Minister said, �As the head of the State, it is my responsibility to safeguard the health of all people and protect them by banning harmful products like gutka and khaini. These products not only cause physical pain to the victims but their families have to undergo emotional and mental trauma, besides having severe financial burden on treatment�.
The victims, along with Dr A Kataki of Dr Barooah Cancer Hospital and Ruchira Neog of Assam Voluntary Health Association urged Gogoi to protect the people of Assam from the harmful effects of tobacco products by banning gutka, implementing stringent pictorial warnings on chewing tobacco products, putting an end to indirect advertising of chewing tobacco product, stopping sale of chewing tobacco products near educational institutions and increasing taxation on all tobacco products, a press release stated.
�Dr B Barooah Cancer Institute is working in collaboration with various NGOs for the campaign towards tobacco control not only in Assam but in the entire Northeastern region as a whole. Incidence of cancer in the Northeastern region is very high and cancers due to tobacco consumption constitute a major portion of it. However, this can be prevented and are amendable at early detection�, said Dr Kataki.