Lucknow, June 13 (IANS) It is now mandatory for tobacco sellers in Uttar Pradesh to take a license. The government has taken this decision keeping in mind the growing problem of tobacco and the danger it poses to public health and also ensure effective enforcement of the rules and policies applicable for tobacco control.According to the government spokesman, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had sent an advisory letter to all the state governments recommending the licensing of tobacco vendors to the municipal corporation. In view of this, this system has been implemented in UP.According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey conducted by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, 35.5 per cent of adults (15 years and above) in Uttar Pradesh use tobacco in some form or the other.The total direct and indirect cost of disease caused by tobacco use is Rs 182,000 crore, which is about 1.8 per cent of the country's GDP.It has also been decided that under the new system, shopkeepers selling tobacco products will not be able to sell non-tobacco products like toffee, candy, chips, biscuits, soft drinks. This has been done to prevent children from getting attracted towards tobacco products.--IANS amita/skp/
Panaji, May 31 (IANS) Additional cess can be levied on tobacco products by governments in order to raise revenue to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication said on Monday on the occasion of 'World No Tobacco Day'.In a statement issued on Monday, secretary of the Organisation, Goa-based oncologist Dr. Shekhar Salkar also said that there is growing evidence that tobacco use increases the risk of a severe Covid-19 infection."Public health groups along with doctors are urging the GST Council to increase compensation cess on all tobacco products to generate additional revenue for the government. In their appeals to the GST council they are urging it to consider an extra-ordinary measure of levying compensation cess on all tobacco products to get additional revenues," Salkar said. "This tax revenue from tobacco could significantly contribute to the increased need for resources during the pandemic including vaccinations and augmenting the health infrastructure to prepare for a possible third wave," he also said, calling it a "win-win" policy, which will address the economic shock from Covid-19 pandemic and directly reduce Covid-19 related co-morbidities."There is growing evidence that smoking and smokeless tobacco increases risk for severe Covid 19 infection. Smoking worsens lung function and reduces immunity. Tobacco users who develop Covid infection have more complications and greater risk of fatality," he also said.--IANSmaya/ash
New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) Tobacco consumption has long been associated with lung disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. But, a recent guidance by the World Health Organization (WHO) states that smokers face a 40-50 per cent higher risk of developing severe disease and death from Covid-19. Health experts have urged smokers to quit as it is necessary now more than ever.World No-Tobacco Day is observed on May 31 every year. This year's theme is 'Commit to Quit'."Given the correlation between the severity of Covid-19 and tobacco, the need to create awareness about ending tobacco use has never been more critical. World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is an opportunity to raise awareness on the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, and to discourage the use of tobacco in any form," said Dr. Roderico H Ofrin, WHO Representative to India, in a statement."This year's theme for WNTD 'Commit to Quit' aims to support 100 million people worldwide in their attempts to give up tobacco through various initiatives. We all must help create healthier environments that are conducive to quitting tobacco use," Ofrin added.According to WHO, the act of smoking means that fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with lips which increases the possibility of transmission of the virus from hand to mouth. Smokeless tobacco users may spread the disease through spitting."There is growing evidence that smokers have a higher mortality rate with respect to coronavirus infection compared to non-smokers. Especially the smokers who already have certain health conditions like COPD or other heart diseases are at a greater risk of succumbing to death if they get infected with the virus," Dr Vikas Maurya, Director and Head of Department, Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh.Aligning with the theme, the WHO has launched a national mass media campaign to encourage tobacco users to quit, along with global health organisation Vital Strategies.The campaign, "When You Quit" explains how smoking cigarettes or bidi can cause heart attack and may also increase the risk of severe Covid-19.The WHO is supporting the "When You Quit" campaign developed in multiple Indian languages and to be aired across 15 states covering 169 districts with high burden of tobacco use through All India Radio, MY FM & Radio City. Additionally, Vital Strategies will augment the amplification of the message through major online streaming platforms - Facebook, Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, SonyLiv and MX Player.According to health experts, the Covid-19 pandemic has also led to a strengthening of resolve among tobacco users in their commitment to quit (tobacco).This could also be because the majority of people were more at home due to Covid-induced lockdowns and they were worried about exposing their children to tobacco smoking, said Dr. Pratima Murthy, Professor of Psychiatry and Head of the Department at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) Bengaluru."As many as three fourth of all who called to quit said they had given up and nearly about 40 per cent had quit in one month. This is the double of what we would see in the pre-Covid times," Murthy said.--IANSrvt/ash
Hyderabad, May 30 (IANS) Over the past one year, doctors and health experts around the world have deciphered many newer aspects of risks to human life, especially during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that the severity of coronavirus is higher among those who smoke cigarettes regularly.Every year, May 31 is observed as World No Tobacco Day, so on the eve of this day, experts have warned the world that if this health emergency is not threat enough for people to quit smoking, then nothing is.Commenting on dangers associated with smoking during this pandemic, Surendra Bathula, Senior Consultant Medical Oncologist, SLG Hospitals pointed out that tobacco products kill more than 8 million people each year, and tobacco use is the primary cause of 25 per cent of all cancer deaths."It is a known fact that tobacco causes respiratory infections and aggravates severity of the diseases. Worldwide, many studies clearly exposed that tobacco consumption increases risk when the person contracts Covid-19, because smoking impairs lung function making it difficult for the human body to fight off coronavirus. It is established that smoking increases expression and upregulation of ACE-2 receptors in the lungs, giving abundant space for coronavirus to invade the human body, replicate itself, and cause severe harm," he said."Quitting the best thing! But, if you cannot do that immediately, you could shift to using e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco; do not share devices like waterpipes and e-cigarettes with others; protect others from the harms of second-hand/passive smoking; maintain physical distance with other while you are smoking; and above all, do not spit in public places, because that could spread viruses," said Mervin Leo, Cluster COO, Gleneagles Global Hospitals.According to Vaibhav Agrawal, Consultant, internal medicine and critical care, Wockhardt Hospital, Nagpur, the relation between Covid-19 and cardiovascular health is important because tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke are major causes of cardiovascular diseases globally. "The effect of Covid-19 on the cardiovascular system could thus make pre-existing cardiovascular conditions worse. Additionally, a weaker cardiovascular system among Covid-19 patients with a history of tobacco use could make such patients more vulnerable to severe symptoms, thereby increasing the risk."Anusha Reddy Karra, Internal Medicine, Western Plains Hospital, Dodge City, USA, pointed out smoking is also associated with increased development of acute respiratory distress syndrome, a key complication for severe cases of Covid-19, among people with severe respiratory infections."From the personal experience of working in the United States, it is more than evident that people who smoke or into drug abuse suffered during this Covid-19 pandemic. Inability of such patients to respond to cure administered suggests how weak the human immune system turns due to smoking and how vulnerable such people are when they contract coronavirus," said Anusha.--IANSms/sdr
New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) Hypertension and tobacco are the top most causes of premature mortality and people consuming tobacco in any form are at high risk of many diseases, as nicotine is solely responsible for constricted arteries, heart failure, inflammation, many types of cancers, blindness, and gangrene, while it also complicates existing hypertension.The above was mentioned by noted interventional Cardiologist Dr. (Prof) (Col.) Shekhar Kashyap while speaking at a webinar on 'Hypertension, COVID-19 and Tobacco – A Deadly Triad'. Kashyap is the former Head of Department (Cardiology), Army's Research & Referral Hospital in New Delhi."Although the tobacco lobby promotes that nicotine does not cause hypertension, it affects all the organ systems. Tobacco consumption in any form be it cigarettes, chewable, and nicotine gum, causes increase in blood pressure and elevates the heart rates. Nicotine cessation can help immediately. Within 20 minutes of cessation, blood pressure returns to normal and 15 years of cessation eliminates all hazards of smoking," added Kashyap.Hypertension is the most widely prevalent vascular disease among the low and middle income group countries. It is also one of the biggest causes of premature deaths in the world. Today, one in every four men and one in every five women today are suffering from hypertension."Those who consume tobacco have poorly controlled hypertension. It is a myth that smokeless tobacco or non-combustible tobacco has no ill-effects. There are ample studies to prove that these cause many diseases," Kashyap said, adding that tobacco blunts the effects of medicines taken to stabilise blood pressure.Kashyap said persons with cardiometabolic factors face a higher risk of severe Covid-19 condition along with complications and mortality. Chewing tobacco can increase the risk of Covid-19 as the person does not wear a mark, the hand to mouth contact increases, salivating and spitting puts others at risk, and sitting together to drink and smoke leaves no room for social distancing, thereby increasing the risk of spreading the infection."To counter the threat of Covid-19, it is imperative to combat the misinformation campaigns. The studies that purportedly claim consumption of alcohol or smoking can prevent Covid-19, may be manipulated and, therefore, as a vigilant society, there needs to be a high index of suspicion around such studies, he added. Kashyap advised that people should rely on information and guidelines from credible sources such as the WHO, US CDC, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and ICMR.He said that there is a lot of ground that needs to be covered, which can begin with sensitising kids at the kindergarten level about the harmful effects of tobacco on our health. Further, surrogate advertisements promoting the use of tobacco in any form should not be allowed in the vicinity of schools or other educational institutions.--IANSksk/
New Delhi- PRAHAR (Public Response Against Helplessness and Action for Redressal), an NGO dedicated to finding solutions for problems of the helpless on Thursday released findings of the first-ever survey among actual users of tobacco products conducted to understand the likely impact of the proposed COTPA Amendment Bill 2020.
The survey polled 1986 respondents across 14 cities spanning Delhi NCR, Jaipur, Lucknow, Ranchi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Mumbai, Nagpur, Vadodara, Bhopal, Chennai, Bangalore, Vijayawada, and Hyderabad.
Explaining the need for the study, Abhay Raj Mishra, President and National Convenor, PRAHAR said, "It is an established principle that before framing any law which affects a class of stakeholders, the views of the affected party must be sought. However, in the course of framing and seeking a public response to the provisions of COTPA Amendment Bill 2020 no attempt was made to seek the views of the consumers and actual users of tobacco products. Unlike other groups, consumers are not cohesively represented by any associations or bodies. Therefore, PRAHAR took it upon itself to collect the views of the users and table it for the consideration of the policymakers."
"What comes out loud and clear from this first-ever study among actual users is huge disgruntlement with the proposed amendments. Consumers believe that the proposed provisions significantly curtail their fundamental rights and freedom to make informed choices and in certain cases will even cause harassment and subject consumers to mental cruelty. COTPA 2020 proposed amendments are self-defeating as instead of serving tobacco reduction goals, they will distort the market structures and lead to an increase in the growth of illegal and inferior products. What we need is a sustained awareness programme to achieve the goals of tobacco control instead of coercive policy measures." he added.
The survey found that 87% of the participants do not support the proposal to ban the sale of loose cigarettes. They believe that this decision to reduce tobacco consumption may instead force smokers to buy full packs which will make cigarettes readily available in their hands leading to an increase in consumption of tobacco.
As per the survey, 57% of consumers buy loose cigarettes as it helps them to smoke less, while only 19% go for it because it is cheaper. Only 7% of respondents felt that ban on the sale of loose cigarettes will make them smoke less.
On the subject of disallowing branding of tobacco products at the point of sale, 76% of respondents said they do not support this proposal. This is because 55% felt that it will limit their fundamental right to make an informed decision as branding is a reinforcement of the legality of the product they are buying. This is particularly relevant because the market is flooded with illegal and smuggled products. 25% of the consumers feel that the move will encourage unscrupulous retailers to promote products that give them more margin.
On the contentious issue of increasing the age for tobacco consumption from the current 18 years to 21 years, a huge majority of 78% of respondents said that they do not support the move. This is because anyone above 18 years of age is an adult as per the Constitution of India which enshrines them the right to exercise choices like marriage and voting, and tobacco should not be any different. 37% of respondents believe that it is their fundamental right to decide whether to consume tobacco or not. Around 8% also felt that this ban will make younger people below 21 years buy illegal products from underground sources.
The survey found little support for the amendment to introduce a ban of designated smoking areas in hotels, restaurants, and domestic airports with a whopping 82% of respondents stating that they do not support such a move. According to feedback from the consumers, this step will lead to harassment and make smokers a subject of mental cruelty by law. If there is no other resort, 51% of consumers confessed to switching over to other forms of tobacco like smokeless products while in transit or outing, which will force them to consume an inferior form of tobacco. Only 13% said they will not smoke while in transit or outside. (IANS)