IMPHAL, July 27: A meeting on National Tobacco Control Programme, Imphal was held today at the Classic Hotel.
The programme was organized by the Regional Health and family Welfare, Government of India, Imphal in collaboration with dept of health and family welfare, government of Manipur and attended by Head and Neck Surgeon, Tata memorial Hospital, Mumbai Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi and National Tobacco Control Programme, Director, Amal Pusp among several other doctors.
Speaking at the meeting, Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi said, “Manipur has the highest tobacco consumption in India. Every 2nd man and every third women in Manipur is addicted to tobacco”.
“Manipur account for some of the highest burden of tobacco related illness in the entire country. For example, lacs of people in Assam would die prematurely due to illnesses such as Cancer, Heart Attack, lung diseases, stroke etc.”
He said, “It is well known that tobacco usage causes 100% poor oral health, 90% of mouth cancer, 80% of lung cancers, 50% of all human cancers, 70% of lung diseases, 60% of heart attacks. Manipur has some of the highest incidence of Lung Cancer in the entire world especially among women”.
This is entirely due to rampant active and passive smoking amongst these states, he said.
“Manipur is losing millions of young and middle age people due to this habit and the state governments have to understand this epidemic”.
Billions of rupees are being wasted on the health care of these largely preventable illnesses.
“It is estimated that the health care cost of tobacco is 10 times the revenue due to tobacco. The GDPs of the states will increase by 10% if they were to control tobacco comprehensively.”
This has to be done on a war footing with contribution from every ministry and every department, the doctor said.
“The home ministry has to assure proper implementation of anti-tobacco laws. Education Ministry must ensure that kids are aware of tobacco hazards and remain unexposed to tobacco. Finance ministry has to make tobacco prohibitively expensive.”
“FDA ministry has to ban Gutka under FSSAI. Health Secretary has to safeguard the health of the state by ensuring impeccable implementation of COTPA-2003.
The Chief Minister must provide political support to this multi-sectoral team in this noble mission.
As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, MOHFW, 54% of people in Manipur are using tobacco (66.6% men and 41.8% women). 44% of people are using smokeless tobacco.
“It is estimated that lacs of Manipuri people die prematurely if tobacco control is not taken as a priority”, he said.
Amal Pusp also provided a brief overview of COTPA.
“Tobacco is a confirmed carcinogen as per WHO monograph published almost 2 decade back.”
“Every cigarette reduces 7 minutes of life. Deaths due to tobacco are equivalent to 10 packed jumbo jets crashing every day or 10 Tsunamis hitting our shores every year”, he said.
“Tobacco control is the most cost effective way to save millions of lives and billions for Rupees. The high power delegation of the MOHFW aims to sensitize the policy makers and various stake holders in the north east region. It desires to share some of the effective strategies that have emerged as game changers in tobacco control movement in India.”
“One such move is to ban Gutka and tobacco containing Pan Masala under FSSAI 2006.
“While 6 large states have done it in India, none of the north east states have done it. Most of the north east states have very high incidence of smokeless tobacco consumption.”
“Tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. There are 3095 chemical components in tobacco, among them 28 are proven carcinogen. The major and most abundant group of carcinogens is the tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines (TSNA) and N-nitrosoamino acids.”
He continued that the nitrosamine level is directly related to the risk of cancer. Scientific evidence has established that tobacco chewing causes cancer of mouth, oesophagus (food pipe), larynx and pharynx (throat), pancreas, stomach, kidney and lung. It can also cause high blood pressure and other life threatening cardiovascular conditions like myocardial ischemia, stroke etc.
The use of smokeless tobacco during pregnancy can cause still birth, low birth weight, premature delivery, anemia of mother and several complications during delivery, he said.