DIMAPUR, May 31 � Nagaland ranks second among tobacco user States in the Northeastern region after Mizoram.
Disclosing this during the observation of World No Tobacco Day in Kohima today, Principal Director, Health & Family Welfare Dr Neiphi Kire said 57 per cent of Nagaland�s population consume tobacco while Mizoram tops the table with 67 per cent.
The World No Tobacco Day 2014 was observed under the aegis of National Tobacco Control Programme on the theme �Raise Taxes on Tobacco�.
Dr Kire said with India being the second largest consumer in the world only next to China and the third largest producer in the world, tobacco is not only a regional problem but also a global threat. According to GATS (Global Adult Tobacco Survey) 2010, smokeless tobacco is more prevalent than smoking, he said. Noting that 8-9 lakh people die annually in India with an estimated death of 2,200 every day, Dr Kire said this shows that India shares the maximum burden of oral cancer in the world. He, however, lauded WHO�s policy to raise taxes on tobacco globally which started in the year 1990, bringing down the sale of tobacco on a large scale and eventually decline in tobacco related deaths.
About 45 per cent of Nagaland�s population is in the habit of consuming tobacco in its smokeless form. Viewed in another way, this is equivalent to every second man and every third woman in the State using tobacco in one form or the other.
In Dimapur alone, 70 per cent of �smoking deaths� � death caused by habitual smoking � occur in the middle age as opposed to old age. �Out of 68,000 males aged between 30 to 69 in Dimapur, 42,000 of them are smokers. Out of these, 21000 will die of smoking unless they quit,� according to District Nodal Officer, NTCP, Dimapur, Dr C Tetseo.
Smoking, he said, is responsible for 32 per cent of deaths from cancer, 38 per cent from TB, 31 per cent from lung disease and 20 per cent from heart attack and stroke.
Equally worrying is the trend that tobacco usage is �very common among school children,� Dr Tetseo shared. He pointed to the numerous shops in the vicinity of educational institutions selling tobacco products, despite a standing order against the same.
In the context of Dimapur, Dr Tetseo said despite efforts to educate the students as well as educational institutions, the problem still continues. �Due to lack of funds, we could not do as much as we wanted to do,� he admitted. The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, passed in 2003, decrees that �no person shall sell, offer for sale, or permit sale of, cigarette or any tobacco products � a) to any person who is under 18 years of age and b) in an area within the radius of one hundred yards of any educational institution.�
It also prohibits smoking in public place(s). The need to spread awareness on these two particular provisions, among many others, of the COTPA 2003, was emphasised.
In a different insight into the harmful effects of tobacco consumption in Nagaland, Dr Sankar Deb Ray, an Oncologist attached to Nagaland University, said most cancer cases in Nagaland are detected when the patients reach their early thirties.