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Dharwad dist needs more awareness on ‘No-tobacco’ initiative, says oncologist

May 31,2024

Hubballi: Despite efforts, authorities have been struggling to curb the sale of tobacco and gutkha, leading to a rise in oral cavity cancer cases. KIMS is currently treating 40–50 patients with this cancer, often caused by tobacco use.

The 2024 theme, ‘Protecting children from tobacco industry interference’ highlights the need for increased awareness, especially as college students continue to use tobacco and illegal sales persist.

According to the source, the government banned the manufacture of tobacco products in 2008. India is also the second-largest consumer and producer of tobacco. A variety of tobacco products are available at very low prices in Karnataka. Tobacco and cigarettes are being sold in public places and also near schools and colleges. Tobacco use is one of the biggest public health threats. Not only does it affect smokers directly, but it also impacts the people around them. Many patients suffering from oral cavity cancer are being treated at KIMS hospital.

The head of radiation oncology at KIMS Cancer Hospital, MR Giriyappagoudar, told TOI that many awareness programmes regarding no tobacco are organized in the hospital. “We will also personally teach patients and tell them to quit using tobacco and smoking. Smoking or chewing tobacco is very harmful to humans. The most prevalent form of tobacco use in India is smokeless tobacco, and commonly used products are khaini, gutkha, betel quid with tobacco, and zarda. Smoked forms of tobacco used are beedi, cigarette, and hookah,” he informed.

He said that due to a lack of awareness among people regarding the effects of chewing tobacco, so many patients come to KIMS for treatment and operations. “We treated 500 patients with tobacco-related cancer last year. It is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, including cancer, lung disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, etc. Youth should quit chewing tobacco products,” he added.

Dr Parashuram, district surveillance officer at the office of the DHO, said that an awareness programme is ongoing in the district. On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day, we are organising an awareness programme at KCD College, Dharwad. At the GP level, various awareness programmes will be organised in govt hospitals.

When asked about the continuous awareness programmes and the need for attention, Dr Parashuram said that tobacco vendors’ meetings are being held and they are continuously told to stop selling tobacco products. “A team of health officials will raid shops where selling is going on. Youngsters are chewing more tobacco. Health education is more important,” he added.

Source: TOI

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