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World No Tobacco Day: 8 million Per Year and Counting, How Much More Will We Lose to Tobacco?

Death of over 8 million people and widespread destruction of environment, through cultivation, production, distribution, consumption, and post-consumer waste, is a huge cost we are paying due to tobacco consumption, says World Health organization (WHO).

Sharbani Banerjee | New Delhi |

Tobacco is a killer. Millions perish every year worldwide due to tobacco use and we lose six hundred million of green cover for producing cigarettes, which consumes 22 billion tonnes of water putting a heavy load on ecosystem. Death of over 8 million people and widespread destruction of environment, through cultivation, production, distribution, consumption, and post-consumer waste, is a huge cost we are paying due to tobacco consumption, says World Health organization (WHO).

On World No Tobacco Day, today some eminent doctors talk about tobacco consumption and its ill effects on health.

According to Dr. Ishu Gupta, Consultant, Medical Oncologist, Fortis Hospital Noida, “Cancer is on the rise not only in India but in the entire world. Every year, 10 million people lose their lives to cancer and one of the most important preventable causes of cancer is tobacco. Tobacco smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes has more than 70 chemicals that can cause cancer.”

Dr Gupta further said, “The use of oral forms of tobacco is also a major causative factor in various cancers. Tobacco not only is a major cause of oral cancer and lung cancer but is also responsible for other cancers like cancer of the oesophagus, liver, stomach, pancreas, kidney, urinary bladder, and even some types of blood cancers.”

Talking about the same, Dr A K Dewan, Director Surgical Oncology Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and research centre (RGCIRC) said, “Smoking is also a key reason for co-morbidities in a person such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, chronic respiratory disease and cancer. It has been noticed that mortality rates of Covid-19 were higher among patients with co-morbidities which are directly related to smoking. Therefore, it is all the more important to quit smoking during these times of health crisis, stated Dr A K Dewan, Director Surgical Oncology RGCIRC.

According to Dr. L M Darlong, Head of Thoracic Oncosurgery at RGCIRC, tobacco is the single leading cause of cancer in India.

He said, “About 40% of the cancers in males and 20% of the cancers in females are related to tobacco. These include Lung cancer, Head & Neck Cancer and Oral cancer which are directly related to tobacco consumption. In case of lung cancer, smoking is the leading risk factor and accounts for two-third of lung cancer incidence.”

Besides, Dr. Shuchin Bajaj, Founder Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, said, “Smoking is the most common method of consuming tobacco. The agricultural product is often mixed with additives and then combusted and the resulting smoke is then inhaled. The active substances are then absorbed through the alveoli in the lungs, causing severe health issues. Tobacco endemic is one of the serious health threats in the world.”