Ban tobacco cultivation to check cancer, say experts

Ban tobacco cultivation to check cancer, say experts

Their concern came in the wake of a WHO report that tobacco killed 100 million people in the 20th century and will kill another one billion in the 21st century -- ten times higher.

The report said in India alone, deaths due to tobacco are expected to rise from 1.4 per cent in 1990 to 13.3 per cent in 2020. Tobacco consumption causes 20 per cent of deaths among males and five per cent among females in the country.

"It is an appeal to the government to curtail the availability of tobacco products by banning cultivation of tobacco. It can save 54.8 lakh precious human lives every year," Dr S Khanna, executive director of Dharamshila Hospital and Research Centre said.

The hospital today launched anti-smoking campaign and fight against cancer here. Khanna said 60 per cent of the cancer patients coming to the hospital have been tobacco users for over a decade. 93 per cent of them are active tobacco users and seven per cent are passive smokers.

"The most common cancers caused by active or passive use of tobacco are found in the head and neck followed by lungs, cervix, stomach, bladder, oesophagus, pancreas and kidneys. 80 per cent of these patients were inoperable and were treated with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. 20 per cent of them were operated as they reported at an early stage and are now completely disease free," he said.

Another oncologist in the hospital Dr Anshuman Kumar said, "Cigarettes cause cancer of the mouth, voice box, lungs, breast, food pipe, stomach, pancreas, urinary bladder and cervix and also tumours."

Dr Biswajit Sanyal, senior Radiation Oncology consultant at the hospital said, "Quitting tobacco has major and immediate health benefits. Persons who quit the habit before 35 years of age benefit the most but it is never too late to quit as it decreases the risk of cancers, heart attack, stroke and lung disease."