Tobacco – an evil we live with

  • Number of tobacco users in India is 274.9 million
  • Mean age of tobacco users in India is 17.9 years
  • 52% of adults are exposed to second hand smoke

                                                                                                       (Source: GATS 2010 Survey Data)

These are some numbers which see an increase with every passing hour. It is time for every citizen of India to sit up and take note of it. But is tobacco only related to cigarettes? No. In a country like India there are more beedi smokers than cigarette smokers (CPAA India report).  Women here are not left behind too. According to a report by the Public Health Foundation (PHFI), women consuming tobacco products have doubled in the last 15 years. They consume smokeless tobacco which includeskahini, gutkha, pan with tobacco, paan masala and even some toothpastes which are promoted as antibacterial pastes especially among children.

Tobacco Causing Cancer

Nicotine a predominant component found in tobacco majorly responsible for cancer. Nicotine is highly addictive and this poisonous substance rapidly travels to the brain influencing the cerebral metabolism.Tobacco is one of the primary causes of cancer which is associated with cancer of respiratory tract, lung, upper gastrointestinal tract,kidney,liver, pancreas, urinary bladder, cervix, etc. Smokeless tobacco is a major cause of cancer of the oral cavity.

Tobacco Consumption Facts of India

Respiratory Diseases

Tobacco is also linked with lung cancer and is known to cause acute asthmatic attacks. It might also lead to tuberculosis. Smokers are 12-13 times at risk to die from COPD than non-smokers.

Cardiovascular diseases

If you thought smoking only causes cancer then you are mistaken. Smokers are at a greater risk for diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels. Stroke is caused when tobacco compresses blood vessels leading to loss of consciousness and paralysis.

Ill Effects of Bidi

  • Bidis are more harmful than Cigarettes
  • They contain less tobacco but more nicotine
  • To keep bidis lit one has to take more deeper puffs resulting in inhaling more smoke
  • Many youngsters take to bidi thinking it to be herbal
  • Cases of Oral cancer is more among bidi smokers

How ToControl Use of Tobacco in India

To prevent use of tobacco it has to be a joint effort of the government and the people. The government is doing its bit by forming several legislations like banning smoking in all public places, prohibiting advertisement and promotion of all tobacco products and sale of tobacco to minors.

The COTPA (The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act 2003 prohibits advertisement of and sale and supply of cigarettes and other tobacco products in India. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare took up several initiatives to create awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco use and tobacco products out of which pictorial warning is a hugely successful one.However, the key to success is the implementation of these measures.

Inspite of these strict laws the number of tobacco users is not decreasing at a desirable rate. Strict action and stricter implementation is required to achieve a good success rate. To be a tobacco free country it should be the responsibility of every citizen to play a significant role.

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Why Should You Quit Tobacco

Educating the society and starting at the school level is the call of the hour. Children should be adequately informed about the ill effects all forms of tobacco.Every village, every town and every city should be sensitized on the harmful effects of cigarettes and beedis. Psychological support should be provided to the people who want to quit smoking. Family support is essential in this case.

Read Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) Report 

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