World Cancer Day : Enforce chewing tobacco ban – prevent 90% oral cancers

Gurgaon, February 3, 2017: As the adage goes, “Prevention is better than cure,” 90% of oral cancers can be prevented if the Governments implement the Supreme Court’s order which banned chewing tobacco being sold rampantly in twin packs. The Indian Council Medical Research (ICMR) estimates, India will have more than 17.3 lakh new cancer cases and more than 8.8 lakh deaths due to cancer by 2020. This will not only affect the individual health, families of the cancer patients, but also adversely affect the economy of the country as a whole. Recent study published in the Journal of Cancer Epidemiology, India recorded total productivity loss of $6.7 billion in 2012 because of cancer, representing 0.36% of our GDP.
Cancer accounts for more deaths worldwide than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) – “cancer is among one of the three greatest risks to the global economy.” In India, cancer is one of the 10 leading causes of deaths in India and is an increasing public health challenge. Tobacco use is the leading avoidable risk factor for cancer and about 1 in 5 global cancer deaths is caused by tobacco use.
How can 90% oral cancers be prevented?
Tobacco is the singlemost preventable cause of death. 90% of oral cancers and 40% of all cancers are caused due to tobacco use. With these alarming numbers, the Honourable Supreme Court on September 23, 2016 had imposed ban on sale of tobacco in twin-packs like gutka, tobacco, pan masala, khaini etc. There is no effective enforcement of this order. This is leading to continuous increase in patients suffering from head and neck cancer (oral and throat cancer).
Speaking on the World Cancer Day VOTV (Voice of Tobacco Victims) State Patron and Cancer Surgeon Fortis Foundation, Dr.Vedant Kabra, said “When we are aware what causes 90% of oral cancers and the law is there to ban these chewing tobacco products in twin packs, then what is stopping the enforcement. 10 lac deaths every year due to tobacco is alarming. Government must strictly enforce the ban in order to prevent 90% of cancers.”
 In a tweet, Prime Minister Modi had wished a healthier nation and tobacco free society.
Subject of Serious Discussion in BRICS countries
The worries of five BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have increased over the heavy expenses on treatment of cancer and deteriorating economy. According to this study, these five BRICS countries comprise more than 40% of the world’s population and contribute 25% to the global GDP.  The economies of these five countries have lost around 46.3 billion dollars on cancer related deaths.
Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF) Trustee and Head of Tobacco Control, Sanjay Seth said, “As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2017, there are 26.7 crore users of tobacco in India. 5500 children initiate tobacco use everyday. One-third of these tobacco users will die prematurely. Lacs and lacs of Indian families are devastated with cancer deaths, which are preventable. Tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death.” 
“Addressing youngsters in a University, Member of Parliament, Dinesh Trivedi said, “confidence comes from the way you carry yourself and not from the brand of cigarette you smoke. I am aware that many college students smoke cigarettes and I request them to choose a healthy lifestyle instead of a cancerous hobby,” Trivedi said.
The World Cancer Day originated in 2000 at the first World Summit Against Cancer, which was held in Paris. The World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. The primary goal of the World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer by 2020.

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