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More minors getting addicted to tobacco: Study

Lucknow, May 31 (IANS) Tobacco consumption remains a major issue as even minors were getting addicted to it. According to the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS), nearly one-fifth of children aged 13-15 years are using tobacco products in India.

The survey revealed that 38 per cent of cigarettes, 47 per cent of bidi and 52 per cent of smokeless tobacco users have picked up the habit before their 10th birthday.

Bhavna B. Mukhopadhyay, chief executive, Voluntary Health Association of India, said: “The Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2016-2017 says about 27 crore people consume tobacco in our country and about 12 lakh people die every year due to tobacco-related illness. The average age of starting tobacco use in India is 18.7 years. Men start using tobacco at a younger age than women.”

She further said that tobacco can cause 25 types of diseases and about 40 types of cancer, in which the major ones are mouth cancer, throat cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer and brain tumour.

Prof Surya Kant, head of the department of respiratory medicine, King George’s Medical University, said: “Tobacco smoke emits harmful gases and chemical substances, in which nicotine and tar are prominent. In all, 70 chemical substances have been found to be carcinogenic but these facts are ignored by those consuming tobacco.”

Dr Abhishek Shukla, secretary general, Association of International Doctors, said: “Smoking bidi is more harmful than cigarette. Due to the low amount of nicotine in bidi, nicotine addicts need it again and again. In our country, addiction to smoking is more in men as compared to women.”

Dr Amita Shukla, senior gynaecologist, SC Trivedi Memorial Trust hospital, pointed out: “One reason for infertility among women is smoking which can also cause pre-mature delivery, in case a pregnant woman consumes tobacco during pregnancy.”

When someone smokes, 30 per cent of the smoke of bidi or cigarette goes to the lungs of the smoker and 70 per cent remains in the surrounding environment, which affects passive smokers or those smoking indirectly, according to doctors.