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New Delhi, May 28: Rise in tobacco use will lead to death of 8.4 million people across the globe by 2020 and at least 70 percent of these will occur in the developing countries, health experts said here on Thursday. Pointing out that tobacco-related diseases were the single most important cause of preventable deaths in the world, they said there has been a rise of 20 percent of women smokers due to lifestyle changes.
In all 50 percent of the cancers in India are directly or indirectly related to tobacco consumption, said Sudhir Khandelwal, head of psychiatric department of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Khandelwal, also the chief of National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre at AIIMS, said: There are several myths because of which people start consuming tobacco and slowly get addicted to it ending up ruining their life.
Noting several myths as the prime reason behind youngsters picking-up smoking or consumption of tobacco in other forms, Khandelwal said many people were under the wrong perception that consuming less amount of tobacco would not cause any damage. Every form of tobacco consumption such as hukka, inhaling and the pan causes the same damage that chewing tobacco does. Slowly and slowly there comes a time when people get addicted to it, he said, adding that the youth consuming tobacco in any indirect form was more likely to get into active consumption of tobacco with time.
The Global Youth Tobacco Survey stated that in India the percentage of students who initiated bidi smoking before 10 years of age has increased from 26 percent to 45 percent. Sonali Jhanjee, additional professor of the psychiatric department, said the disturbing trend as earlier age of initiation leads to higher chances of getting addicted to tobacco and greater health damage in the longer term.
She also said India currently has 275 million of tobacco users and its consumption is responsible for half of all the cancers in men and a quarter of all cancers in women. India also has one of the highest rates of oral cancer in the world, partly attributed to high prevalence of tobacco chewing. It is also associated with more common dental ailments such as dental caries, periodontal disease and tooth loss, Jhanjee told IANS. She added that the tobacco addiction was now recognised as a chronic medical illness on the same lines as hypertension and asthma. Treatment in the form of both medicines and counselling is available to treat tobacco use and a psychiatrist may be approached for the same in both government or private setting, she said.
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