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Economic Costs Attributable to Tobacco Use in Rajasthan amounted to Rs 1160 crores

 Jaipur, Rajasthan, Observing the World No Tobacco Day 2014, Neeraj Kumar Pawan, AMD National Health Mission & Director IEC GoR, Govt. of Rajasthan, today released the highlights of a report on the “Economic Burden of Tobacco Related Diseases in Rajasthan” organized in coordination with Rajasthan Voluntary Health Association at Hotel Om Tower Jaipur. Release was done by M.L.Mehta (Ex Chief Secretary GoR) who is now chairman RSLDC and special invitee of advisory committee to GoR. 
The study on Economic Burden of Tobacco Related Diseases in India was conducted to estimate the economic burden of disease attributable to tobacco use. The study estimates the direct and indirect costs from all diseases due to tobacco use as well as the cost of each of the following four diseases: cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases and tuberculosis in 13 states in India.
The study was conducted in 13 states across India – Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
The report, supported by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India and the WHO Country Office for India, was developed by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).
According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey India (2009-10), in Rajasthan 32% of adults (15 years and above) used tobacco. About 19% of adults were smokers and 19% used smokeless tobacco. Furthermore, 74% of adults were exposed to second-hand smoke at home.
The report highlights that tobacco use and the associated costs are creating an enormous burden for the nation. The total economic costs attributable to tobacco use in Rajasthan amounted to Rs 1160 crores in the year 2011 for persons aged 35-69, of which 70% was direct medical costs and 31% was indirect morbidity costs.
The economic cost for four specific diseases (CVD, cancer, tuberculosis and respiratory disease) amounted to Rs 504 crores.
Respiratory diseases shared the highest economic burden (Rs 174 crores) on account of tobacco use, followed by cardiovascular diseases (CVD) at (Rs 131 crores), tuberculosis at (Rs 126 crores) and cancers (Rs 73 crores). Among the four diseases, respiratory disease contributed the highest at 32% of the total direct medical cost and 39% of the total indirect cost.
The economic cost for all diseases due to tobacco use was higher in males expect for cancers where the cost in females (due to smokeless tobacco) was higher at Rs 5.5 crores (compared to Rs 4 crores for males).
A tax increase that raises prices of tobacco products by 10% is estimated to reduce tobacco consumption by 4% to 5%. Essentially, as tax goes up, death and disease goes down. Raising taxes on tobacco is a win-win situation. It is good for people’s health and good for the economy”, Vikram Raghav, Project Director, Rajasthan Voluntary Health Association.
The report calls for prioritization of tobacco control for larger population benefits in Rajasthan, increased resource and budget allocations for NCD prevention and control and full implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and the tobacco control laws is imperative.