In a first-of-its-kind initiative to commemorate the occasion of World No-Tobacco Day and contribute to cutting down the overall distribution and consumption of tobacco in the city, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon conducted a candle march covering a two kilometer distance for increased public awareness. The span of the distance commenced at Paras Hospitals extending to Ardee City and back. The candle march witnessed an enthusiastic response from more than 250 residents of Delhi-NCR, most of them youngsters, who signed the petition to urge the Government to stop use and selling of tobacco products in the city for at least one day in a week.
Nearly 23.7% of the deaths noticed among men and 5.7% among women (between 35–69 years) in India are due to tobacco-attributable illnesses, reveals a study published in the Indian Journal of Medical and Pediatric Oncology in 2012. India's tobacco problem is very complex in nature, with large scale use of a variety of smoking forms. Most of what is known about the adverse health effects of tobacco is based on the smoking of manufactured cigarettes, although in India, other forms of tobacco use are common such as flavoured cigarettes, cigars, snuff, gel strip, e-cigarettes, khaini, gutkha, pan masala and other types of chewable tobacco.
Dr Piyush Agrawal Senior Consultant Head and Neck Onco Surgery, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon said, “With oral cancer accounting for one-third of the total cancer cases in our country, it’s high time we sit up and take a note of the threat. It has been medically proven that tobacco use causes many types of cancer, including cancers of the lung, mouth, throat, bladder, kidney, liver, stomach, colon and rectum, and cervix. When we smoke, more than 7,000 chemicals spread throughout our entire body and all of our organs, and increases risk of getting any one of these cancers. In this context, it becomes very significant to underline that smoking and tobacco consumption is also by far the biggest preventable cause of cancer in our country..” .
The recent National Family Health Survey states that an average of 30% people (both men and women) in India has attempted to quit smoking in the last 12 months. This can be attributed to various government initiatives, health campaigns, cigarette taxes, and no smoking policies which have had a major impact in reducing the number of current cigarette smokers in this country, although most of the adult population still continues to be active smokers.
Dr Neeraj Bishnoi Facility Director, Paras Hospital, Gurgaon says, “People stay in denial of the perils of tobacco use and smoking, particularly in urban areas. To add impetus to the campaign against tobacco consumption by the Government of India and join hands to increase awareness on giving up this unhealthy habit which is the root cause of many diseases in our society, we are proposing shutting down of all cigarette shops and tobacco shops in Gurgaon, once in a week for a tobacco-free India by 2030. With this prohibition on cigarette shops and vendors in the city, we aim to drive a never-seen before mindset change among the general population along with a stern regulatory nod against smoking and tobacco consumption at the community level.”
“In spite of the legislation prohibiting smoking in public places and the pictorial warnings on tobacco products, many educated people in our city continue to smoke and consume tobacco publicly. I am glad that Paras has taken this initiative of observing no-tobacco day once every week andI am happy to be part of this unique campaign, ,” said Akash, 23-year-old college student from Gurgaon.
Tobacco use kills nearly six million people worldwide each year, and one million only in India. According to the WHO estimates, globally there were 100 million premature deaths due to tobacco in the 20th century, and if the current trends of tobacco use continue, the numbers are expected to rise to one billion in the 21st century. India presently has one of the highest rates of oral cancer in the world, and more than 90% of the patients are tobacco chewers, research suggests. Oral cancer and various other forms of cancer in India have been attributed to the high proportion of tobacco chewing and smoking, particularly in the urban areas.