“As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2017, there are 26.7 crore users of tobacco in India. 5,500 children initiate tobacco use every day. One-third of these tobacco users will die prematurely. Lacs and lacs of Indian families are devastated with tobacco deaths, which are preventable. “Tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death.” Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF) Trustee and Head of Tobacco Control, Sanjay Seth said at a function in Chandigarh recently.
As the adage goes, “Prevention is better than cure”, tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death. With the aim of having a tobacco-free society, doctors of PGIMER, Chandigarh got together for a meeting to address the tobacco epidemic.
Organizing and leading the doctors to meet in PGI Chandigarh, Dr. Anand Mishra, Additional Professor, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery said, “tobacco is an epidemic killing 10 lac Indians every year. It is the need of the hour that this issue is addressed at all levels in the Government as well as the community.”
An official statement after the meet said, “If we talk about the healthcare costs, the estimated economic cost of tobacco has been estimated at Rs. 1,04,500 crores (US$ 22.4 billion) which is 1.16 percent of the GDP and 12 percent more than the combined State and Central Government expenditures on health (2011- 12). The financial burden due to direct and indirect costs of tobacco-attributable diseases will continue to push families of millions of tobacco users towards poverty and stealthily decelerate the economic growth of the country.”
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. 90% of oral cancers and 50% of all cancers are caused due to tobacco. This will not only affect the individual’s health and the families of the cancer patients but also adversely affect the economy of the country as a whole, the statement informed.
Dr. Vedant Kabra, Head of Department Surgical Oncology, Manipal Hospitals, and Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV) patron, said, “tobacco not only destroys physical health but also is a cause of extreme emotional trauma for the cancer patient as well as the family apart from draining them financially.”