Kolkata: Depression is the leading cause of ill-health and disability worldwide. As per latest estimates from the World Health Organization, more than 30 crore people globally are living with depression, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression as per a recent study by NIMHANS. A study by Jane Collingwood (2016) concluded that smokers have more than twice the rate of depression than non-smokers.
On the occasion of World Health Day doctors from Narayana Health in a media briefing in Press Club, Kolkata today asserted that tobacco is a cause not just for depression but for many diseases. Dr Suman Mallik, a Radiation Oncologist at Narayana Superspeciality Hospital Howrah, said that tobacco is the major cause for a wide varieties of cancers, heart diseases, strokes as also pulmonary, peripheral vascular and respiratory diseases. Even problems like Impotence, Infertility, renal failure and liver diseases are caused by tobacco. In fact, Dr Mallik said that there is no part of the human body that tobacco does not impact.
Another renowned cancer surgeon from Narayana Superspeciality Hospital Howrah, Dr Sourav Datta, said “More than 90% of my patients come with cancers and sadly the reason is no other but tobacco! Not only it puts the patient in depression but results in the entire family moving towards depression due the serious illnesses caused by tobacco. On this World Health Day, people of West Bengal must pledge to quit tobacco and Government must take all necessary steps to enforce the Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) to ensure children do not become addicts. Tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death. We must have clean and safe campuses right from the primary schools.”
Speaking at the World Health Day press briefing Ashima Sarin, Project Director, Voice of Tobacco Victims said, “India cannot talk about World Health Day unless there’s mention of tobacco. Tobacco is initiated by 438 children every day in West Bengal. Students are more likely to get depressed and fall prey to tobacco. They are totally unaware that there’s an entry to this but the exit is almost impossible because they become addicts by the time they realize. Tobacco is responsible for 1.53 lac deaths every year in West Bengal.”
Sanjay Seth, Trustee & Chief of Operations,Sambandh Health Foundation said, “Worldwide 1 in 10 deaths is due to smoking. In India alone, tobacco takes away 12 lac lives per annum. West Bengal witnesses 1.5 lacs deaths every year due to tobacco consumption. On World Health Day, West Bengal must take up tobacco control very seriously if the health parameters of the state are to improve.
Akshay Oleti, Facility Director of Narayana Hospitals in Howrah, said, as the adage saying goes, Prevention is better than cure, if we are able to make our society tobacco free, it would mean we are successfully moving towards a healthier nation. Healthy people make healthy nation. I feel we must take all prevention to ensure youngsters are not falling prey to such deadly products further leading to depression, disability or death.”
As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2010, in West Bengal 62.4% of adults are exposed to second hand smoke at home and 29.8% in public places. Ten percent of those who die from smoking are not smokers themselves. Also, the total economic costs attributable to tobacco use in West Bengal amounted to Rs 3440 crores for persons aged 35-69. World Health Day is observed on 7th April every year.