CHENNAI: Tobacco has emerged as the biggest health hazard accounting for 40 percent deaths in men and 20 percent in women, Dr V Shanta, chairperson of Adyar Cancer Institute, said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a seminar organised to mark World No Tobacco Day here, she said there are 250,000 tobacco users in the country and most of them are affected with lung cancer. There over one million deaths every year due to tobacco, she pointed out warning about the dangers of passive smoking.
Expressing concern over the alarming rise in tobacco consumption in schools, she suggested that tobacco should not be sold within 100 metres of educational institutions. According to her teachers with smoking habits should not be recruited at all. There has been a big shift from smoking to chewing of tobacco, she observed.
Vice Chairman of Cancer Institute Dr. E. Hemanth Raj, said "the 100 metre rule will never be enforced. It is ironical that in the health ministry there is one department which is against the tobacco consumption and you have one department which is working for the tobacco promotion board."
Speaking on tobacco abuse and its impact on children Sugata Roy, communication specialist, UNICEF, said "90,000 to 100,000 children are into tobacco chewing. There is an increase in the tobacco consumption among doctors. In West Bengal nearly 20 percent of the medical students smoke." In his view there should be plain packaging of cigarette packets and other tobacco related products which otherwise triggers aspiration.
The event was organised by Centre for Tobacco Control and Cancer Institute, in association with UNICEF.