Pune: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India is home to 12 per cent of the world’s smokers with approximately 12 crore smokers. Over 10 lakh die each year due to tobacco consumption in India. World No Tobacco Day is observed on May 31.
The staggering data also reveals that around 24 per cent of the children under the age of 16 years consumed some form of tobacco in the past while 14 per cent still use tobacco products. Smokeless tobacco is more prevalent than cigarettes or bidis in India. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), 44 per cent men in India consume tobacco in some form.
Dr Arun Suradkar, Consultant - Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, said tobacco consumption is much higher in men.
“Although only 36 per cent of men in Maharashtra consume tobacco, no matter how you take it, tobacco is dangerous to your health. There are no safe substances in any tobacco products, from acetone and tar to nicotine and carbon monoxide. Nicotine, the drug that makes tobacco addictive, goes to the brain very quickly. While it makes you feel good when you are smoking, it can make you anxious, nervous, moody and depressed later. Tobacco may also cause bleeding gums and cancers of the mouth and throat. In many cases, it leads to an increased heart rate and blood pressure, which causes heart disease and heart attacks,” said Suradkar.
Dr Vaibhav Pandharkar, Consultant - Respiratory Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, Pune, said that adolescents are vulnerable to pick up the habit of smoking because they go through rapid hormonal and cognitive changes during their adolescence.
“The factors that lead adolescents to start smoking include advertising of cigarettes, stress, low self-esteem, poor academic performance and occurrence of smoking among parents and other family members, friends, and staff at school. Also, those smoking are putting others lives at risk. Passive smoking is one of the reasons for increasing pulmonary and respiratory issues in non-smokers,” said Dr Pandharkar.
Dr Ashok Band Bhanage, Consultant Neurosurgeon, Chairman, Kamalnayan Bajaj Cancer Centre, Ruby Hall Clinic, said people who quit smoking cut their risk of lung cancer by 30 per cent to 50 per cent after 10 years as compared to people who keep smoking.
“We have to create awareness about the fact that tobacco is one of the primary causes of cancers and heart attacks. People from various strata of society are getting addicted to tobacco in various forms, which has an adverse effect on their health. The chemical constituents in cigarettes have a detrimental effect on everything, from the body’s immunity to the functioning of the organs,” said Dr Bhanage.
There are 12 crore smokers in the country
44 pc men in India consume tobacco
14 pc of children under the age of 16 years use tobacco products
36 pc men in State consume tobacco