Meghalaya ranks 5th with 47% tobacco users and 2nd with 31.6% smokers in the North Eastern region

Shillong, May 30, 2019 (MMP): Tobacco use is the world’s leading single cause of death and one of the largest preventable causes of morbidity and mortality in the world. Each year, 7 million people die from tobacco related causes, of which 1.2 million die in India from smoking alone. 80% of oral cancer is attributed to tobacco use.

     According to GATS 2 (2016 -2017), Meghalaya ranks 5th with 47% tobacco users and 2nd with 31.6% smokers in the North Eastern region. Meghalaya also has the highest incidence of esophageal (food pipe) cancer in the country.           

       Tobacco use is a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of death in the world namely, Ischaemic heart diseases, cerebro vascular diseases, lower respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, tuberculosis, trachea-bronclus, lung cancer.

       The average monthly expenditure on cigarettes for a daily smoker is Rs. 1192. If this present pattern of use persists, tobacco use could cause as many as 1 billion premature deaths globally during the 21st century.

      National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP), NHM started in Meghalaya in 2013-14 under the 12th Five Year Plan with the goals to:-

    Prevent initiation of tobacco use among youth and adults, promote quitting of tobacco use among adults and youth, eliminate exposure to tobacco smoke (second hand smoking), reduce demand of tobacco products through IEC campaigns, ban on tobacco advertisements, promotion of sponsorship (TAPS) and pack warning and reduce supply by restricting access to minors.

    The Government of Meghalaya along with NTCP has taken several initiatives in implementing this program. A State Level Coordination Committee (SLCC) and a District Level Coordination Committee have been constituted comprising various stake holders from different departments.

   Section 4 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 or COTPA, 2003 prohibits smoking in public places.

    Section 6A prohibits the sale of tobacco products to minors and by minors.Section 6B bans the sale of tobacco within 100 metres of educational institutions. However, enforcement squads and heads of educational institutions have a major role to play in this endeavour. Several awareness programmes are being conducted in different schools in the city to impart knowledge about the ill effects of tobacco. Children are also encouraged to take the pledge against the use of tobacco.

    World No Tobacco Day is being observed on 31st May, 2019 with the theme “Tobacco and Lung Health” and the main goals are to create awareness on the negative impact of tobacco on people’s lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory diseases. MMP

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