As the world gears up to observe No Tobacco Day on May 31, over 40 NGOs and several eminent personalities from India with support from the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai came together to systemically address the menace of tobacco in our society and reduce its consumption in the interest of public health and welfare.
The organizations such as Voice of Tobacco Victims, Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH), Indian Dental Association and World Health Organization have come together under one roof with other organizations to spread awareness about the hazards by tobacco. The announcement of the coalition was made in an event presided by the panel discussion in which eminent personalities form various fields participated.
Dr Vijay Satbir Singh ACS Public Health Department was also present for the event. After the announcement of the coalition he reiterated Maharashtra government’s commitment to implement anti-tobacco laws effectively.
Dr R A Badwe, Director Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai highlighted the hazards caused by tobacco consumption. “40 % of cancers cause due to tobacco. Tobacco use costs national economies enormously through increased health-care costs and decreased productivity, ” he said.
Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi Professor and Surgeon, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai also spoke about the threats by tobacco, “Tobacco is responsible for nearly 90% mouth cancers. Half of the mouth cancer patients die within 12 months of diagnosis. As per WHO Tobacco addiction is a disease. Every one third adult Indian is suffering from a serious disease.” he informed.
In India, there are 27.5 crore tobacco users which effectively mean that every third Indian uses some form of tobacco. More than 33% of such users die a premature death due to cancer, heart attack, lung diseases, stroke, etc. A smoker loses 8 years of his life due to this addiction.
About 10 lakh Indians die from tobacco-related diseases each year in India. It is alarming that 4% of children aged 13-15 smoke cigarettes and 12% use some form of tobacco. The total economic costs attributed to tobacco related diseases in India in the year 2011 for persons aged 35-39 amounted to INR 104,500 crores (US$ 22.4 billion). This cost only keeps increasing with each passing year.