A joint survey of ICMR-NCDIR has found that the prevalence of tobacco use (smoked and smokeless) in Mizoram is as high as 77.1 per cent, with the use of smokeless tobacco higher at 54.1 per cent as compared to smoked tobacco at 43.6 per cent.
Mizoram health officials said that the ‘Monitoring Survey of Cancer Risk Factors and Health System Response’ in the northeast region was conducted recently as part of cancer research in the region by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR) for prevention and control of cancer in the northeastern states.
According to the survey, the mean age of initiation of tobacco use is 20.2 years and the average duration of tobacco use among past smokers is 20.9 years.
Only 7.1 per cent have been advised to quit tobacco use by a doctor or a health worker. As high as 86.8 per cent respondents reported exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.
Over half (58.1 per cent) are current users of non-tobacco betel products in the form of pan masala, betel quid or areca nut. As many as 54.6 per cent are current users of betel quid, the study said.
The primary objective of the survey is generation of key cancer and other related risk factors and health system response indicators in the regions covered by population-based cancer registries in Mizoram.
It also aims to set a baseline to monitor and track trends in the prevalence of risk factors associated with cancer and other NCDs and link or correlate risk factors with cancer incidence in the state.
The study shows that a little over 15 per cent have consumed alcohol during the preceding 12 months and 12.5 per cent have consumed alcohol during the preceding 30 days. The mean age of alcohol use is 20.6 years.
Over 5.6 per cent engage in heavy episodic use of alcohol and only 2.1 per cent have been advised to quit alcohol by a doctor or a health worker.
Over 80 per cent of the surveyed adults reported having a sufficient level of physical activity.
Mizoram, bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh, continues to hold the dubious distinction of being the state with the highest cases of cancer in the country.