4 Feb, World cancer Day
Jaipur, Worldwide, today is being celebrated as World Cancer 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. 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 Organization 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.
Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Professor Surgical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, said, “it is a mammoth task to improve the nutritional status of a nation of one billion people. However, importantly control on tobacco / areca nut / alcohol / junk food is well within the reach of our policy makers. While the cancer causing effects of Tobacco are well known, most are still unaware of harmful effects of Alcohol, areca nut and obesity. The only way to discourage their usage is to strictly implement Cigarette and Tobacco Product (COTPA) act that aims to prohibit smoking in public places, prohibit sale to minors, stop direct and indirect advertizing.
How serious the issue is?
In India, every year in India, around one million new cancer cases are diagnosed and around 600,000 to 700,000 people die from cancer. In a report of April 2014, around two-fifths (40%) of all cancers in India are attributable to tobacco use and the economic costs of illness and premature death due to tobacco consumption exceed combined government and state expenditure and state expenditure on medical and public health, water supply and sanitation. (Challenges to effective cancer control in China, India and Russia, April 2014 – The Lancet Oncology).
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.
Every 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.
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.