Government claims to earn thousands of crores from tobacco but does not realize that it spends many times
Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Consultant Surgical Oncologist, Tata Memorial Hospital
Tobacco is the only legally available consumer product in the world that kills even when used as per the manufacturer’s specifications. Tobacco usage is strongly associated with several lethal diseases and numerous chronic disabilities. International Classification of Diseases (ICD–10) has notified tobacco dependence as a disease. The addictive strength of this product can be guessed from the fact that Indian tobacco companies continued to run in profit despite strong pack warnings.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization has categorized tobacco as a category I carcinogen (confirmed human carcinogen). Tobacco is consumed in many forms in India such as cigarette, beedi, hukka, cigar, paan, jarda, snuff, surti, naswar, masheri etc. Tobacco usage significantly increases the risks of many cancers such as cancer of lungs, mouth, esophagus, larynx, pharynx, salivary glands, urinary bladder, kidneys, uterine cervix, breast, pancreas, and colon. If someone uses tobacco he has 50 times more chances of getting mouth cancer, 12 times more likely to die from lung cancer, 10 times more likely to die from some form of lung disease, 10 times more likely to die from cancer of the larynx, 6 times more likely to die of heart disease and twice as likely to die of a stroke. Tobacco, as per an ICMR study conducted in 1996, was responsible for 42 lakh cases of coronary artery disease and 37 lakh cases of chronic obstructive lung disease as well as about 1.5 lakh new cancers in India!
Government claims to earn thousands of crores from tobacco but does not realize that it spends many times more money in treating patients with tobacco related diseases. Despite progress in health care, mere 2% of Indian adults quit the habit–often only after falling ill.Nearly half of the cancers in India men are due to tobacco usage. Men who are cigarette smokers lose ten years of their lives, mainly as a result of tuberculosis, respiratory and heart diseases, and cancer.
During the 2010s there will be about 1 million tobacco deaths a year in India and about 70% of these deaths will be before old age. Tobacco kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, cocaine, homicide, suicide, motor vehicle crashes, and fires combined. Tobacco is predicted to account for 13% of all deaths in India by 2025. Currently, tobacco is responsible for 1 in 5 of all male deaths in middle age. Unlike alcohol, there is no safe level of smoking, and consumption of a few cigarettes/bidis per day increases the risks of dying prematurely by up to 50%. There is a plethora of evidence on the hazards of tobacco even in the public domain.
Mull over the following facts and prepare to quit
- Trust the statistics that smokers on an average die a decade earlier than nonsmokers.
- Don’t try to fool yourself with popular myths and anecdotes that encourage smokers.
- Don’t live in the world of denial that smoking is safe.
- Try to hammer it in your mind that reduction (from 10 to 2 per day) has got no beneficial impact.
- Drive it out of your mind that smoking improves creativity and performance.
Smoking does not reduce wait or suppresses appetite – a common myth amongst women. On the contrary, it make a women look older prematurely. Middle aged and elderly should remember that smoking will make your “Old age” pathetic when you will be riddled with dozens of smoking related ailments.
The children of current era are very conscious and well informed – they do not like smoking by parents.
Here are some tips for successful cessation
- Decide a date for quitting – child’s birthday, anniversary, new year etc
- Announce your decision to quit to everybody around you. It is better that you plan quitting with a colleague. A sense of competition may do the trick.
- If you have kids, tell them that you have decide to quit. Most of the time that is the greatest encouragement. Always keep their pictures and look at it whenever there is an urge.
- Throw all packets, match box, lighter, ash tray that may remind you of the habit.
- On the day of quitting, take is as a serious challenge that you would like to win.
- Try to remain surrounded by good friends for next few days.
- It is not a bad idea to stay at a friend’s or relative’s house for first one week. Living in your own house may be a constant reminder of your past habit.
- Keep reminding yourself, whenever you get a craving, that it is good for your child, parents, wife, girl friend etc. Convince yourself that you are making a huge sacrifice for your dear ones.
Source: Times of India