Tobacco consumption in Assam 21% higher than national average

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Tobacco consumption in Assam 21% higher than national average

Harshita Himatsingka | May 31, 2019 17:39 hrs

GUWAHATI: Every year, May 31 is celebrated as World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) around the globe. It is a day that is observed by people to abstain from all forms of tobacco consumption and to draw attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use, its negative health effects and second-hand smoke exposure. 

This year, the theme for the internationally recognized day is “Tobacco and Lung Health.” The campaign focuses on the negative impact that tobacco has on people’s lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory disease, and the fundamental role lungs play for the health and well-being of all people, according to the World Health Organization.

The World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) was created in 1987 by the World Health Organization (WHO). It should be noted that this day is met with both enthusiasm and resistance from governments, public health organizations, smokers, growers and the tobacco industry world over.  

Tobacco consumption leading factor that causes cancer 

In recent times, cancer in the Kamrup urban district has been on the rise. Tobacco consumption is one of the most important risk factors for cancer. Currently, tobacco consumption in the state is at 49 percent, 21 percent higher than the national average of 28 percent. High prevalence of tobacco consumption causes 49.1 percent of all cancers in males and 25.7 percent of all cancers in females in the Kamrup urban district.
 
“At Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute, 56 percent of all cancers in males and 25.5 percent of all cancers in females are tobacco related. Some of the most common forms of cancer found in this district include cancer of oesophagus, hypopharynx, lung, stomach and tongue, all of which are tobacco related cancers,” said Dr Amal Chandra Kataki, Director of Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute. 

According to Global Adults Tobacco Survey, in Assam, 25.3% of men, 0.8% of women and 13.3% of all adults currently smoke tobacco. 50.5% of men and 32.5% of women and 41.7% of all adults currently use smokeless tobacco. The mean age for initiation of tobacco use has increased from 18.1 percent to 18.5 percent.
 
Based on the Public Health Foundation of India’s data, the government of Assam spent a total of Rs 157.8 crores for treatment of tobacco related diseases in 2011 out of the total health budget of Rs 541.2 crores. 

“Even if the awareness of cancer exists in urban areas among youth, it’s not enough. For example, everyone knows that smoking is bad for them. But they still do it, even when they are aware of that fact. Thus, massive awareness and prevention campaigns have to be organised so that people take this seriously, look after themselves and stop indulging in such bad habits,” said Dr Kataki. 

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