Jaipur, Worldwide, today is being celebrated as World Tobacco Day, and during this 24 hours, globally 8,640 people will lose their lives due to cancer caused by use of tobacco and other tobacco products. To check this menace, the World Health Organisation has fixed “Plain packaging on tobacco products” as theme for 2016. Today the whole world will resolve for making packaging of all such products in colour with its 85% space covered by pictorial warning. They will also resolve for written words in a specified size while the company will write its brand name on these products. This day, we should also resolve to say goodbye to smoking so that we can change the statistics in coming days. The data say that one single cigarette reduces up to 11 minutes of our life, while a full packet of it cause us to lose three hours 40 minutes of our life. Every hour 114 people are dying due to use of tobacco and tobacco products.
According to a 2010 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) report, 32% population or 1.5 crore people in Rajasthan use tobacco in any form, while lakhs of these people die each year due to tobacco related diseases. Nationwide, 85% men and 20% women in India use tobacco in any form, which include urban as well as rural women of Rajasthan. According to the GATS survey, 10 percent girls have accepted that they use to smoke cigarettes. The World Health Organisation report, the Global Tobacco Epidemic warns us that the tobacco consumption among women is on the rise, and it includes youths also. When this survey was done in 2010, 35% people were taking tobacco in any form, and five years later, today, there must be a huge rise in this data. Remarkably, GATS survey in India is planned this year.
Almost 50% of young smokers, both boys and girls, become victim of tobacco related diseases leading them to untimely death. Average life of smokers is 22 to 26 percent less compared to that of non-smokers. Rajasthan daily registers almost 250 new tobacco consumers. Here, the average age of initiation in tobacco consumption is 17 years in case of male while it’s only 14 years in females. It’s a very serious matter that each year almost 72 thousand persons die untimely in Rajasthan due to tobacco related diseases and leave their family helpless and destitute.
Global Adult Tobacco Survey – India 2010 report acknowledges that tobacco use is a biggest preventable cause of premature death and disease. Globally, 1 in each 10 adult deaths is caused by tobacco consumption. Also, globally, 55 lakh people die each year due to tobacco consumption. And approximately, one fifth of these deaths occur in India.
In the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, 178 countries of the world had consented to frame their own policy on tobacco control. In 2014, the WHO appealed these countries to raise the taxes on tobacco to save lakhs of lives annually.
Dr. Pawan Singhal, patron of the Voice of Tobacco Victims and Associate Professor of Sawai Man Singh Hospital, says that the tobacco industry daily unleashes new efforts to attract youths towards the world of tobacco. With the aim of catch ‘em young, it projects tobacco products as a synonym of adulthood, modernism, affluence, classiness and superiority.
Recent initial researches suggest probability of partial genetic changes among tobacco consumers which raises not only the vulnerability of that person, but also that of coming generation towards cancer. With the consumption of tobacco products, impotency among males are increasing while reproductive capacity among females decreasing.
Dr. Singhal said that tobacco increases the risk of mouth, throat, stomach, liver and lungs cancer. Most of the tobacco related diseases are lungs and blood related, treatments for which is costly as well as complicated. An Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study report reveals that 50% cancer cases in males and 25% cases in females are caused by tobacco consumption. 90 percent of it is oral cancer. Smokeless tobacco contains more than 3000 chemical compounds, of which 29 are carcinogenic. Largest number of oral cancer patients resides in India. Consumption of gutka, chewing tobacco, pan, and cigarette may cause oral cancer.
The state government should ban these types of tobacco products. While these products are fully banned in 14 states of the country, why the same is not being imposed here? And that too when the social organisations of the state are making demands for it since a long time.
Sanjay Seth, COO, the Voice of Tobacco Victims demanded the state government to implement the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) strictly in the state so that tobacco products remain out of reach of children and youths. It’s necessary for all the modern and progressive states to implement COTPA strictly to provide a healthy atmosphere to their citizens. Police in states like Karnataka and Kerala has played a very commendable role in restricting the consumption of tobacco and other tobacco products. In several states, police has played a commendable role in announcing all educational institutions as tobacco-free to restrict tobacco consumption among children.
He told that each day, 5500 children in India initiate tobacco consumption and before reaching to the age of adulthood, they become tobacco addict. Only 3 percent of tobacco consumers are able to free themselves from tobacco addiction. So, it’s necessary to stop children from initiation into tobacco consumption.
Ashima Sareen, Project Director, Voice of Tobacco Victims, said that the state of Rajasthan witnessed 12% rise in taxation on tobacco products in 2009-10, while it was 20% rise in 2010-11, 40% in 2011-12, 50% in 2012-13 and 65% in 2013-14 for which the WHO accorded it DG Award. But, seeing the increasing trend of consumption of tobacco products, it needs to be banned.
Sareen told that globally one out of each 5 deaths is caused by tobacco and every 8 seconds one person dies of consumption of tobacco and tobacco products. World Health Organisation estimates 2.2 billion people consuming tobacco or tobacco products in 2050.
Notably, the World Bank has also proposed developing countries to impose 75 to 100% tax on tobacco to discourage its consumption.
Section 4 and 6(B) asks educational institutions to announce itself tobacco-free and installation of statutory warning. Section 6(B) of act demands that the information regarding the sale of tobacco within 100 yards of educational institutions be sent to the nearest police station for advance action. It also demands monthly intimation of action taken under section 4 and 6(B). The department has issued order for making all primary, secondary schools and colleges as tobacco free. The report regarding action taken under section 4 and 6(B) has already started coming.
If tobacco or tobacco products are found being sold or consumed within the premises of any public places or educational institutions, or within 100 yards of it, it may attract a fine of up to Rs. 200.