Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare today chaired an event to mark the World No Tobacco Day and led the pledge by everyone present to abstain from Tobacco.
Expressing his satisfaction at the timely event, the Minister said, “In India, over 1.3 million deaths are attributable to tobacco use every year amounting to 3500 deaths per day, imposing a lot of avoidable socio-economic burden. In addition to the death and diseases it causes, tobacco also impacts the economic development of the country.”
He also pointed out that smokers face a 40-50% higher risk of developing severe disease deaths from COVID-19. As per the WHO study titled “Economic Costs of Diseases and Deaths Attributable to Tobacco Use in India” it has been estimated that the economic burden of diseases and deaths attributable to tobacco use of tobacco in India was as high as Rs 1.77 lakh crores, amounting to approx 1% of GDP.
He expressed his satisfaction that with the persistent efforts of Government and State Governments, the prevalence of tobacco use has decreased by six percentage points from 34.6% in 2009-10 to 28.6% in 2016-17.
Dr Harsh Vardhan highlighted the proliferation of calls to the Tobacco Quitline services. “We have toll free quit line services -1800-112-356, initiated in 2016, that have been expanded in September 2018. The quit line services are now available in 16 languages and other local dialects from 4 centres. The number of calls on quit line before expansion was 20,500 per month which has increased to 2.50 lakhs calls per month after the expansion.”
He reiterated his appeal to the people to quit the use of tobacco and tobacco products.