11.7 % of population of Punjab consumes tobacco as in cigarettes , bidis and other forms
Amritsar 30st May, 2012( RASHMI TALWAR):
Every year World Health Organization (WHO) observes ‘World No Tobacco Day’ with a theme and this years’ theme is “Tobacco industry interference”. The campaign will focus on the need to expose and counter the tobacco industry’s brazen and increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) because of the serious danger they pose to public health.
On this ‘World No Tobacco Day’, as a part of its community service initiative, Department of Head & Neck Surgery at Amandeep Hospital, has taken its fight against tobacco to a new height. As tobacco is the leading cause of Head & Neck Cancers, Dr. Prahlad Duggal, Head & Neck Cancer Surgeon at Amandeep Hospital, is associated with the Anti-tobacco campaign “Voice of Tobacco Victims” (which is a campaign against tobacco by the victims of tobacco, their families and the doctors treating the patients of Head & Neck Cancers).
Dr Duggal stated that according to research in the Indian population 34.6 people consume tobacco in various ways out of which 5.7 % of the population smoke cigarettes and 9.2 smoke bidis while 26.0% consume tobacco in various forms. In Punjab 11.7% people consume tobacco out of which 3.7 % are cigarette smokers while 4.2 smoke bidis and 7% use other forms.
To counter the onslaught of Tobacco industry which is spreading this menace, on this ‘World No Tobacco Day’, the patrons of this campaign ‘Voice of Tobacco Victims’ are meeting the Director Generals’ of Police of different states with an appeal to make tobacco related offences a part of the monthly crime report so that the anti-tobacco laws get implemented in a better way.
Dr. Duggal has written to the DGP, Punjab, Sh. S S Saini requesting to issue a notification making it mandatory that all the tobacco related offences be made part of monthly crime report. He is waiting for an appointment with the Hon’ble DGP in this regard. He has also met the ADGP Crime, Punjab, Sh. V K Bhawra and he has assured to go through the relevant provisions of Anti-Tobacco law (COTPA) and has invited for another meeting in the first week of June.
On this ‘World No Tobacco Day’ he has again appealed to DGP, Punjab to issue this notification as few states like Karnataka and Bihar have already issued it. He has also appealed to the Hon’ble Chief Minister to raise taxes on tobacco products and ban ‘Gutka’ in Punjab as Madhya Pradesh and Kerala have already banned this menace which is a major cause of cancer of the mouth.
Dr. Duggal said that as Head & Neck Cancer Surgeons, we daily see the plight of tobacco victims and their families which fall prey to it because of easy and cheap availability of tobacco products and aggressive advertisement by tobacco companies. He said that the Punjab Government, which is providing financial help to cancer patients, can save lot of money as well as protect its people from this menace by following the other states in banning ‘Gutka’ altogether and increasing the taxes on tobacco products. He said that this will go a long way in making Punjab a tobacco free state.