TOBACCO: A threat to life & development
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As the world is getting ready to observe the World No Tobacco Day on May 31, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) under the leadership of Union Health Minister JP Nadda has also chalked out a comprehensive plan to propagate the message among citizens of the country that tobacco is very much injurious to health and prevention is the only remedy. The MOHFW in partnership with World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Telecommunications Union has started an initiative mcessation (tobacco) utilising mobile technology for tobacco cessation. The intent behind the programme is to reach out to tobacco users of all categories who want to quit tobacco use and support them towards successful quitting through constant text messaging on mobile phones. This year’s theme of the Wold No Tobacco Day is Tobacco – a threat to development, which is related to the development index of the country. The day to mark World No Tobacco Day is observed to make world aware about the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective control measures to reduce tobacco consumption as consuming tobacco products is taking lives of nearly six million people worldwide every year and if the trend continues the number of deaths due to tobacco is expected to rise to 1 billion in the 21st century. The theme has a clear message to disseminate --- when life is under threat, the development would suffer a lot. According to WHO reports, tobacco is the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease worldwide, causing 6 million deaths every year. Tobacco use is a major risk factor for number of chronic diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases (CVDS), chronic lung diseases and stroke. Ill effects of tobacco use can occur to any person, regardless of gender, age, race, and cultural or educational background. It brings suffering, disease, and death, impoverishing families and national economies. Tobacco products are made entirely or partly of leaf tobacco as raw material and tobacco is mainly used in two main forms of use are chewing and smoking. Tobacco products are either used as smokeless tobacco like khaini, zarda, gutkha as smoking. Apart from cigarettes, people from India smoke tobacco using bidis, hookahs and chillums among several other forms of smoking. More than 4,000 different types of chemicals
have been found in tobacco and tobacco smoke. Over 60 of these chemicals have been classified as carcinogens (cancer causing agents) by International Agency on Research in Cancer. All tobacco products contain the highly addictive psychoactive ingredient, nicotine.
HARMFUL EFFECTS OF TOBACCO
Tobacco use affects almost every major organ and system in the body. Tobacco use in any form can cause cancers in different organs/sites in the body including the mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), lungs, esophagus, breast, brain, gall bladder, and kidney. Nearly 45 per cent of all cancers among males and 17 per cent among females in India and more than 80 per cent oral cancers are directly related to tobacco use. Most of the tobacco users don’t know that tobacco use narrows their arteries causing them to become clogged and can lead to heart attack, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, gangrene of the feet and impotence. In women users, infertility and different problems during pregnancy such as ectopic pregnancy, low birth weight baby, congenital anomalies, premature birth are related to tobacco use. Passive smoking or second hand smoke (breathing in someone else’s cigarette smoke) even if person is non smoker also increases the risk of respiratory problems, lung cancer, coronary heart disease (heart attack, angina, heart failure), stroke. Breathing in second-hand smoke is particularly harmful to children and pregnant women. Children exposed to second-hand smoke are at increased risk of sudden death syndrome and various other respiratory problems. Children who grow up with a parent or family member who smokes are three times more likely to start smoking themselves Smoke may still be present in large amount even after the person has stopped the smoking especially in small enclosed space such as in cars, is also harmful. Tobacco smokers are at greater risk of developing cancers than non-smokers Tobacco Control Programme in India It is not only governments who can step up tobacco control efforts, people can contribute on an individual level to making a sustainable, tobacco-free world. People can commit to never take up tobacco products. Those who do use tobacco can quit the habit, or seek help in doing so, which will, in turn, protect their health as well as people exposed to second-hand smoke, including children, other family members, and friends. Money not spent on tobacco can be, in turn, used for other essential uses, including the purchase of healthy food, healthcare, and education. In order to bring about greater awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco use; implementation of effective tobacco control measures and tobacco control laws, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) has launched “National Tobacco Control Programme” (NTCP) in 2007-08 during the 11th five-year plan. The NTCP is implemented with healthcare delivery system at state and district level under National Health Mission and in a phase-wise manner, it will cover the entire country. Register to “mcessation (tobacco) programme visit
https://www.nhp.gov.in/quit-tobacco or give a missed call on 011-22901701.