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Tobacco - A persistent epidemic- is the best go-along adjective. To the contrary, it’s a winnable public battle. Its known that for the last fifty years use of tobacco has been reported and represents an important health issue in India. From the history of smoking Cannabis in the Atharvaveda, tobacco was introduced in the country during the 17th century.

According to the World Health Organisation, India is home to 12% of the world’s smokers and more than that, 1 million people die every year due to Tobacco related illnesses. There is a huge hike of smokers to 108 million between the years of 1998 and 2015, which is contemplating to tremendous issue of public health. According to the study, ‘ A Nationally Representative Case-Control Study Of Smoking and Death in India’ – tobacco is responsible for 1 in 5 of male and 1 in 20 of female death. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, reveals that Kolkata has the highest rate with 56.6% of people smoking. Under this whole view on this spreading dreadful trend it’s also noted that the country has lost an amount of ₹ 13,500 crores on people healing various ailments caused by the use of tobacco.

India has taken various legislations for the control in the past few years which comprises the Cigarette Act in 1975, Regional Smoking Ban in 1999, Nationwide public smoking ban in 2008 and Pictorial warning under Section 7 of COTPA.

Deliberating about the diseases and health problems followed by the long term use of tobacco can be surprisingly a long list. It can affect the proper metabolism and functioning of all vital organs ranging from lungs, liver, pancreas to colon, kidney and the bladders. DNA is the ‘blueprint’ for every cell in the human body and the tobacco which is a potent carcinogen leads to uncontrollable growth of cells resulting in cancer. Apart from the lung carcinoma, evidences now prove smoking causes liver and colorectal cancers. Smoking is indeed a ‘Breath Blocker'. It causes Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and underlying diseases like emphysema, chronic bronchitis and Tuberculosis. Nearly 8 out of 10 COPD deaths are due to tobacco smoking. Its proved that, tobacco slows down lung growth in children and teens. In addition, it can be a ‘Heart Stopper'. It damages blood vessels and leads to Cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, its proved babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy or who are exposed to second hand smoke are likely to die to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) . 18 million males are suffering from erectile dysfunction and deprived immunity. Smoking tobacco causes age related macular degeneration . Aren’t we all bound to have a shock in the spine being informed that tobacco is a damn KILLER of the human body.

So, what’s the story for next 50 years ?! Its relevant to tackle the issue in all sectors of the country. Despite all the progress with the currently active legislations, there is still more to be accomplished. The sole aim is to help every smoker to quit smoking, keeping young people in the foremost, the results would be staggering – together should be the present generation.

There are many ways to reduce the tobacco usage rates quickly and dramatically. Affordable smoking cessation treatments can be made available easily for people willing to quit. Comprehensive smoke free and tobacco free policies in public places that protect non smokers and make smoking the expectation rather than a norm. Imparting high prices for cigarettes and tobacco products discourage the youngsters from starting prime and encourage the smokers to quit. State and community programs with demonstration of how the tobacco affects the entire body, mainly by the health professionals would help integrate tobacco control into medical, retail and public health environment. Continued mass media campaigns that inform the dangers of tobacco can be done. During the period of COVID 19 it would be more strategic to conduct webinars on aimed and small groups can prove efficient. It would be more likely to reduce the use if the public use is spotted and caught red handed , can be given a bigger fine issued so that it alarms the society to not follow the public trend. Holistic health workshops are to done regularly. The merchandising and vending of tobacco products near school and college premises should be banned and careful rummage by the assigned departments are to be carried out. Awareness programs can be organized in schools and colleges to educate the young generation to not fall in the ditches.

Breathing exercises, pranayama and yoga can be a show stealer. Programs can be conducted for people already affected with secondary causes of tobacco use like COPD, Tuberculosis etc to improve the condition. Implementation of SKY technique in all regional and national institutions which are proven in betterment of these conditions, aiming both in prevention and treatment of affected.

We can break the vicious cycle of sickness, disability and death caused by tobacco if we extend the proven programs and policies to more states and cities to make tobacco less accessible, less affordable and less attractive. It should be less appealing to youth by using federal regulatory authorities and do conduct campaigns to teach youth the real purpose and values of life. Work to rapidly eliminate the use of cigarettes and other forms of banned products. These steps can save millions of lives in the coming decades and eliminate smoking tobacco as the leading cause of disease and death.

“Tobacco isn’t pleasure,
Tobacco isn’t to be bragged of
Learn and make life.”

Realize, Relish and Rejuvenate Lives!

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