Bengaluru: A few years ago Karthik (name changed), then 40, walked into the Fortis Hospital on Bannerghatta road with breathlessness and was diagnosed with suffering from respiratory bronchiolitis interstitial lung disease(RBILD), a rare disease that affects only smokers. He became better in six weeks after he stopped smoking, but had a relapse a year later as he went back to it. He has now quit the habit after counselling and nicotine cessation techniques and is feeling the better for it.
"This may be a rare condition, but there are other very well known diseases associated with smoking like over 40 different types of cancer," points out Dr Vivek Anand Padegal, Consultant Pulmonologist at Fortis Hospitals Bannerghatta road, who treated Karthik.
The doctor reveals that 25 per cent of his OPD cases are related to smoking today. "Although, the health hazards associated with tobacco are well known a lot of youngsters continue to experiment with tobacco either out of peer pressure or curiosity. Almost 4000 teens under the age of 18 are trying their first cigarette every day and upto 1000 kids per day are prone to becoming daily cigarette smokers, according to a recent survey. On this No Tobacco Day the message should be to curtail the use of tobacco by the young population," stresses Dr Sachin Kumar, Senior Consultant, Department of Pulmonology, Sakra World Hospital. Mr Amol Naikawadi, preventive healthcare specialist, Indus Health Plus, says timely routine check- ups along with preventive measures are essential to avoid the risk of diseases, which might occur due to smoking. "Every year, a million Indians die due to tobacco-induced diseases like lung cancer. Unfortunately for patients, the disease is detected at a very late stage, drastically affecting their prognosis. However, of late, modern medical science has enabled us to detect the disease at an early stage through minimally invasive methods such as a Liquid Biopsy Tests, enabling better health outcomes for patients. Strand Life Sciences is happy to have launched these tests in India so that patients can benefit from the most advanced medical care,” adds Dr Vijay Chandru, chairman and managing director, Strand Life Sciences.
How to reduce beedi consumption
- Experts believe that taxing beedis below 28 per cent under GST will cause a sharp increase in beedi consumption and further aggravate public health and the economic burden caused by its use in India. The most direct and effective method for reducing beedi consumption is to increase its price through tax hikes, they say. Quoting some official data they contend that if the government settles for an 18 per cent GST rate, there will actually be an upswing in consumption by 1.25 per cent, considered to be massive in terms of volume. If a 28 per cent slab is slotted for beedis, consumption will actually dip by 0.77 per cent which is also a substantial swing. According to Dr Rijo John, economist and health policy analyst, beedi consumption in India is price elastic and responds negatively to changes in it.
- Beedi workers have urged the government to intervene and alleviate their working conditions and eventually provide them alternative livelihood options. "We are victims of the beedi industry," said Thangam, 45 , from Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu, who has been rolling beedis since she was 10- years- old.
Award for nadda
The World Health Organisation has conferred the Director General’s Special Recognition Award on Minister of Health and Family Welfare, J P Nadda, for his leadership and commitment to advancing tobacco control. It has also selected Ministers of Health for Maldives and Bhutan among five individuals/ institutions from the WHO South-East Asia Region for this year’s World No-Tobacco Day Award.