Now, in order to discuss and examine the preventive strategies and precautionary measures being taken by the central and state government to curb to tobacco usage, Salaam Bombay Foundation in association with Tata Memorial Hospital, Action Council Against Tobacco, and Healis-Sekhsaria have come together to organise the ‘4th National Conference on Tobacco or Health.’
The conference is being held from Friday, February 08 to Sunday, February 10, 2019. Key points will be discussed during these three days such as the various step taken by the government to control tobacco consumption in society, lessons from tobacco control program, the burden and impact of tobacco use etc. Around 350 doctors from India and abroad are expected to be participating at the conference.
In India, around 3.3 million deaths are caused due to oral cancer. This is caused due to tobacco usage, regardless of its form, whether it is cigarette smoking or chewing tobacco, using gutka, paan masala or scented supari. Also schoolchildren are most vulnerable when it comes to tobacco use, as they are easily addicted to the novelty of tobacco smoking.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Professor, Surgical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, and head and neck cancer surgeon, stated, “Each year, we organise this conference in Mumbai. It has been found that in India, each year around 13 lakh people lose their life due to oral cancer. Crores of rupees are being spent in India for cancer. Yet, the mortality rate is still on the rise. In this conference, we will touch upon the topics of tobacco awareness, public policy related to tobacco, tobacco deaddiction, second-hand smoke, smokeless tobacco use and many more important issues which will be debated upon.”
Dr Chaturvedi, added, “In Maharashtra, the incidence of cigarette smoking is reduced. But on the other hand, the consumption of gutka, pan masala, mawa and kharra has increased. Around two crore people in Maharashtra consume tobacco. Therefore, the government has to do its best to control chewing tobacco products, before it is too late.”
While Dr Pallavi Darade, Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner said, “The sale of tobacco products is banned in the state. Yet people are still able to consume tobacco by obtaining it through illegal means. So far, the FDA has seized gutka worth Rs 173 crore. While 4,000 FIR’s have been registered regarding the sale of tobacco products; also the production of tobacco has declined in Maharashtra. But tobacco products are illegally smuggled in from the neighbouring states. The FDA is paying close attention to the transport vehicles entering Maharashtra.”