Govt to launch first mass media campaign on bidi smoking

Govt to launch first mass media campaign on bidi smoking

This is the first government sponsored nation-wide mass media campaign anywhere in the world that links bidi smoking to CVD. The campaign has been developed with technical support from World Lung Foundation, and the spot has been field tested in different settings, said K Desiraju, additional secretary, Health.

He said it will be aired in all major TV and Radio/FM channels through the month of August and has been dubbed in 14 regional languages for pan-India coverage.

The main message of the campaign is – "Quitting smoking is hard, but the consequence of not quitting is harder". It also includes the angle of quitting bidi smoking for the sake of one's loved ones.

The campaign advertisement comprises of two Public Service Announcements (PSAs) – 'Heartbreak' and 'Surgeon'. While heart break has 15, 30 and 45 seconds versions, the surgeon PSA is only of 15 seconds. These PSA’s will also be supported by radio. With nearly two in every five (38 per cent) adults in rural areas and one in every four (25 per cent) adults in urban areas using tobacco in some form, doctors say Bidi is the second most highly consumed tobacco product in India.

Current tobacco use in any form in India as per Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-India ) 2010 is 34.6 per cent in Adults - 47.9 per cent in males and 20.3 per cent in females.

As per Global Anti Tobacco Survey, male bidi smoking (16 per cent) is higher that cigarette smokers (10.3 per cent) and female bidi smoking population is higher (1.9 per cent) than cigarettes smoking (0.8 per cent) population. Further, the prevalence of bidi smoking ranges from 21.9 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh followed by Tripura( 21.5 per cent), Uttarakhand (19.2 per cent), Meghalaya (18.7 per cent), Rajasthan (16 per cent), West Bengal (15.7 per cent) to 1.5 per cent in Goa.

Experts say Bidi smoke contains higher concentration of hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide and ammonia as well as nicotine, compared to cigarette smoke. Bidi smoke delivers three times the amount of carbon monoxide and nicotine and five times the amount of tar as compared to cigarette smoke. Bidi smoke also contains carcinogenic chemicals such as tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), said medical professionals.

Doctors say Bidi smoking has been shown to increase the risk of chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis and respiratory diseases. Tobacco use has been identified as a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and leads to high burdens of early death and disability.

In India, 27 per cent of total annual deaths in 2002 were related to CVD and this is projected to rise to 42 per cent by 2030. During the period 2000-2030 about 35 per cent of all CVD deaths in India are projected to occur in 35-64 age group.

Tobacco smoking, particularly bidi smoking which contains higher concentration of nicotine and carbon monoxide, plays a vital role in the increased risk of cardiovascular effects. There is still a large research gap in the field of bidi smoking and its effects on humans including effect of second hand smoke of bidi.

Tobacco is the foremost preventable cause of death and disease in the world today. Tobacco is a risk factor for 6 out the 8 leading causes of death. Globally, about 6 million people die each year as result of diseases resulting from tobacco consumption and if urgent actions are not taken, the death toll could rise to more than eight million by 2030, experts fear.

Worldwide, every day almost one million people smoke or chew tobacco because of their addiction to nicotine and about 15,000 die from tobacco related disease. As per the estimates in India nearly 8-9 lakhs people die every year due to diseases related to tobacco use and 5500 youth start tobacco use every day. As per ICMR nearly 50 per cent of cancers among males, 25 per cent among females about 80-90 per cent of all oral cancers are associated with tobacco use. Available evidence suggests that 40 per cent of all TB deaths are directly attributable to tobacco use.

The majority of the cardio vascular diseases and lung disorders are also directly attributable to tobacco consumption. Tobacco has also been identified as a risk factor for Non-communicable disease and it accounts for one in six deaths resulting from NCDs.

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