Deadly in any form
DR. R. NARASIMHAN
On World No Tobacco Day (May 31), we must ponder over why the harmful tobacco habit is allowed to continue unchecked.
Raise awareness: Get accurate information. Photo: Paul Noronha
THE purpose of the "No Tobacco Day" is to raise awareness about the existence of a great variety of deadly tobacco products and also help people get accurate information. This year's theme for "World No Tobacco Day" is very apt Tobacco is deadly in any form or disguise.
It is crucial to empower the individuals, organisations, foundations and those who are spreading this anti tobacco campaign to get accurate information, remove the disguise and unveil the truth behind the tobacco products traditional or new. By any form I mean bidis, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, kreteks, clove cigarettes, snuff and smokeless cigars.
The second issue is to raise awareness about all names, types or flavours of tobacco. Today cigarettes are available in different flavours like mild, light, low tar, full flavour, fruit flavour, chocolate flavour, menthol flavour, natural, additive free, addictive free and many other forms. The WHO describes them as deadly in any disguise.
There has to be an increasing awareness about the need for strict regulation and its implementation. This slogan "Deadly in any disguise or form" has to be shown in all the public places and on the cigarette packs. This has to be inculcated at early stage, even in schools, as children are influenced by movies that depict smoking as a sign of machismo. If these messages are taught early, children whose parents are smokers will not try smoking or hopefully dissuade the parents from smoking.
Lung cancer incidence and death rates are directly related to smoking. According to one published study in the U.S. the incidence of colorectal cancers, prostate cancer and breast cancer have come down significantly but not lung cancer, which has been directly linked to smoking.
Apart from the smokers, passive smokers are also affected. For no fault of them the passive smokers suffer from asthma, COPD and babies exposed to maternal smoking suffer from childhood asthma.
Unless awareness is raised to fever pitch, future generations will start asking why this harmful habit was allowed to carry on unchecked?
The writer is a Senior Respiratory Physician, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com
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