Doctors warn against tobacco use, passive smoking

HYDERABAD: Ahead of World No Tobacco Day, observed on May 31, city-based doctors warned people against taking up the habit, while also advising tobacco users to give up the habit by detailing its ill effects and calling for social awareness on the issue.

The theme for this year, ‘We need food, not tobacco’, is an apt one, say, doctors, citing tobacco use as a leading cause of preventable death worldwide.

Tobacco use was found to be the leading preventable cause of cancer deaths, as it could lead to cancer of the lung, mouth and throat, voice box, oesophagus, stomach, kidney, pancreas, liver, bladder, cervix, colon and rectum, and a type of leukaemia.

Dr Palanki Satya Dattatreya, the director and chief of medical oncology at a renowned city-based hospital, said, “According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) conducted in 2017, the prevalence of tobacco use in India was 28.6 per cent, with 10.7 per cent of adults smoking tobacco and 21.4 per cent using smokeless tobacco. As per the report, the prevalence of tobacco in Telangana was 28.2 per cent, with 20.9 per cent of adults smoking tobacco and smokeless tobacco amounting to 14.5 per cent, including products such as gutkha, pan masala, and khaini, which are popular among both men and women.”

Doctors stressed the harmful effects of passive smoking, calling it equally damaging as active smoking.

Dr Gopi Krishna Yedlapati, a senior interventional pulmonologist, said, “Passive smoking leaves 80-85 per cent harmful effect on the body and that is one of the reasons for rising cases of cancers among non-smokers. Non-smokers exposed to a smoking zone that is not well-ventilated can experience serious hazards in a short span of time.”

Tobacco use was also a major risk factor for several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and respiratory ones, and can also contribute to mental health problems.

“Family members of smokers are affected in two ways — one is the direct exposure to smoke leading to various diseases and the second one is the psychological aspect, especially for partners and children of smokers,” Dr Gopi Krishna said.

Doctors also raised concerns over an increasing number of students taking up tobacco use.

“VAP is a new trend among teenagers and e-cigarettes are found in schools during the inspection. Teenagers take to smoking for fashion or lifestyle. It is very important to raise awareness from the high school level. Public figures and celebrities can also be involved in social awareness campaigns to fight addiction,” Dr Gopi Krishna said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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