Women who lost hus­bands to tobacco tell Modi to act

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

Mumbai: Five women who lost their hus­bands to can­cer have writ­ten an open let­ter to PM Naren­dra Modi to high­light the harm­ful ef­fects of tobacco.

On the eve of World No Tobacco Day, the women—in­clud­ing the widow of the late labour min­is­ter Satish Ped­nekar—pointed out that Gu­jarat was the only state in the coun­try that con­tin­ued to man­u­fac­ture gutka while other states had banned its pro­duc­tion, dis­tri­bu­tion and sale. “From there (Gu­jarat), it is smug­gled to all other states of In­dia, in vi­o­la­tion of the bans. Surely you know this?” said their let­ter.

Satish Ped­nekar suc­cumbed to oral can­cer in 2011. His widow Su­mi­tra has writ­ten, “My hus­band’s ill­ness hap­pened be­cause of his ad­dic­tion to mawa, a mix of T he Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion on Satur­day is­sued no­tices to im­porters, dis­trib­u­tors and re­tail­ers of e-cig­a­rettes across the state. Stat­ing that use of e-cig­a­rettes was ram­pant among the youth, FDA com­mis­sioner Dr Harshdeep Kam­ble said that while e-cig­a­rettes were pro­moted as a tobacco ces­sa­tion de­vice, the Drug Con­troller Gen­eral of In­dia had only al­lowed sale of nico­tine patches and gums con­tain­ing up to 2mg of nico­tine for tobacco ces­sa­tion ther­a­pies. E-cig­a­rettes have up to 10 to 11mg of nico­tine. “Those found guilty will be sen­tenced to three to five years un­der the pro­vi­sions of the Drugs and Cos­met­ics Act,” said Kam­ble. E-cig­a­rettes are banned in Ma­ha­rash­tra but this is the first time that the FDA is strongly en­forc­ing it. chew­ing tobacco and pan masala. In his last few months, my hus­band could not swallow even wa­tery dal-khichdi. My daugh­ters and I are still strug­gling to come to terms with the scars left by his ex­tended ill­ness and tragic demise.” She added that can­cer was also a life­style dis­ease that “comes by in­vi­ta­tion for adults and is given as a gift to chil­dren by adults”.

“Can­cer is the sec­ond killer fol­lowed by heart attack. Both are at­trib­ut­able to tobacco. In fact, 50% can­cers are re­lated to tobacco. A to­tal of 40% of can­cer-re­lated deaths are re­lated to tobacco and 20% all deaths are re­lated to tobacco,” the let­ter said, adding, “How many more wid­ows and or­phans will you al­low the in­dus­try to make be­fore In­dia says enough?”

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