New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) In a country, where more than a million people die every year due to tobacco related diseases, it is essential that we save our future generations from the fast-spreading tentacles of tobacco usage.Numerous studies, researches, and surveys reveal that tobacco usage among children is the first step towards addiction. What is more disturbing is that on an average children, as young as 12-13 year old, are using tobacco products such as cigarettes, bidis etc, that are easily within their reach. In a survey of adolescent girls, it was found that 72 per cent of the girls were used to consuming tobacco.The problem of children using tobacco has worsened over the years, as from 12 years 3 months in 2012, the average age when children begin using tobacco products has dropped to 10 years in 2019 – a drop of more than 2 years in a span of 7 years. The situation is particularly grim in the north-eastern states, especially Mizoram, where the youngest tobacco users were found to be just 6 years old!A National Fact Sheet on Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS-4), India, 2019, released by Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, last month highlighted the high prevalence of tobacco consumption among school going children aged 13-15 years.According to the Survey findings, nearly one-fifth of the students aged 13-15 used tobacco in one form or the other (smoking, smokeless, and other forms) in their lives. Prevalence of tobacco use among boys was 9.6 per cent and among girls was 7.4 per cent. The prevalence of smoking tobacco was 7.3 per cent. In case of smokeless tobacco product, the prevalence was 4.1 per cent.Tobacco is the first step towards addiction. Therefore, it is essential that COTPA be well-equipped to curb the usage of tobacco especially among children. "COTPA can be an important tool in protecting our children from the rising menace of addiction," says Priyank Kanoongo, Chairperson, NCPCR, who feels that the proposed amendments to COTPA will make it more effective.Kanoongo, who was delivering the keynote address in the virtual panel discussion around National Fact Sheet on Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS-4), India, 2019, singled out the tobacco lobby for circumventing the laws by advertising tobacco products under the garb of saffron, cardamom and other such materials. He also drew attention to tobacco companies sponsoring sports events and using film actors to entice young children into using tobacco products. However, with the proposed amendments to COTPA coming into effect, such activities and surrogate advertisements will be considered an offence and can attract penal action.The amendments to COTPA will help prevent the illicit trade of tobacco and other drugs at the borders, especially with Myanmar and Bangladesh. It will also ensure protection of street children who are the most vulnerable to addiction. In fact, street children have gone beyond tobacco consumption and have switched over to inhalants.It is estimated that the number of children using inhalants is 1.1 per cent higher than the adults. It has come to light that for Rs 100 worth of plastic bottles that rag picking children sell, traders involved in the scrap business pay only Rs 30 in cash and the rest Rs 70 as inhalants.Amendments to COTPA and social boycott of such traders can help protect young children from falling prey to the vicious cycle of addiction.NCPCR, numerous ministries, and government bodies are collaborating to shoulder the responsibility of protecting our future generation from addiction to tobacco and other drugs. Prahari Clubs at schools that are mentored by Gandhi Smriti Darshan Samiti, installing cameras at school premises to monitor illicit activities, and installing cameras at medical stores and pharmacies to curb sale of Scheduled drugs without prescription, are some of the initiatives that are being piloted.Dr Rajdeep Roy, BJP MP from Assam and a medical surgeon, emphasised on the need for a holistic approach to curb tobacco usage. He shared that in the north-eastern states, children as young as 5-6 years old are seen smoking bidis instead of going to school."We need to tackle this problem. The government can bring in regulations that are supported by medical experts and vetted by people who can vouch that introduction of such rules can curb tobacco usage." Dr Roy observed that although COTPA 2003 had discouraged tobacco usage, there is still a lot that needs to be done. He called out the tobacco lobby for pressurising manufacturing and encouraging usage of tobacco. He called upon these companies to be more responsible and not destroy the future generation of the country.Dr Roy is hopeful that doctors in Parliament across party lines will be supportive of the proposed amendments to COTPA when the bill is presented in the Parliament for discussion. "We are committed to bringing in good laws that will help protect our future generation and patients, as well as are good for the industry," he added.At present, there is negligible awareness about the COTPA guidelines, which enables the tobacco lobby to muffle the discussions around the subject and dilute the efforts. "Even the media has long downplayed the issues that children face," observed Manoj Verma, Senior Journalist, Lok Sabha. However, continued discussions such as this webinar, hosted by Arun Anand, Author and Journalist, and conducted in the context of the recently published GYTS Fact Sheet can help spread awareness at a wider scale to protect our children from the use of tobacco and make India tobacco-free. --IANS san/skp/
New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday released the National Fact Sheet Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS-4), 2019, underlining the role of teachers as the most crucial in creating awareness among children about the harmful effects of tobacco.The fourth round of Global Youth Tobacco Survey was conducted in 2019 by the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The survey was designed to produce national estimates of tobacco use among school-going children aged 13-15 years by sex, location of school (rural-urban), and management of school (public-private). The first three rounds of GYTS were conducted in 2003, 2006 and 2009.Releasing the National Fact Sheet, Mandaviya said, "The more and the sooner we create awareness among children about the harmful effects of tobacco use, the better will be the outcomes in terms of reduction in prevalence of tobacco use among children and consequently among the adults. Harmful effects of tobacco use should be incorporated in school curricula at various levels, starting right from the primary school level."A total of 97,302 students from 987 schools (Public-544; Private-443) participated in the survey. In total, 80,772 students aged 13-15 years were considered for reporting. The objective of the survey was to provide information on tobacco use, cessation, second-hand smoke, access and availability, exposure to anti-tobacco information, awareness and receptivity to tobacco marketing, knowledge and attitude.The key findings of the survey showed that the prevalence of tobacco use among boys was 9.6 per cent and among girls it was 7.4 per cent. Nearly one-fifth of the students aged 13-15 used some form of tobacco product in their life. However, between the last two surveys, the current use declined by 42 per cent (2009-2019).The survey found that the prevalence of smoking tobacco was 7.3 per cent; 4.1 per cent in the case of smokeless tobacco products. The use of e-cigarette among the students was 2.8 per cent.The survey found that Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram (58 per cent each) have the highest use of tobacco among students. On the contrary, Himachal Pradesh (1.1 per cent) and Karnataka (1.2 per cent) have the lowest consumption rates.--IANSavr/arm
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/
New York, (IANS) Vitamin D deficiency strongly exaggerates the craving for and effects of opioids, potentially increasing the risk for dependence and addiction, a new study suggests.
The findings suggest that addressing the common problem of vitamin D deficiency with inexpensive supplements could play a part in combating the ongoing scourge of opioid addiction.
"Our results suggest that we may have an opportunity in the public health arena to influence the opioid epidemic," said researcher David E. Fisher from the Massachusetts General Hospital.
For the study, published in the journal Science Advances, the research team addressed the question from dual perspectives.
In one arm of the study, they compared normal laboratory mice with mice that were deficient in vitamin D (either through special breeding or by removing vitamin D from their diets).
Importantly, when the mice were conditioned with modest doses of morphine, those deficient in vitamin D continued seeking out the drug, behaviour that was less common among the normal mice.
When morphine was withdrawn, the mice with low vitamin D levels were far more likely to develop withdrawal symptoms.
The study also found that morphine worked more effectively as a pain reliever in mice with vitamin D deficiency.
The lab data suggesting that vitamin D deficiency increases addictive behaviour was supported by several accompanying analyses of human health records.
One showed that patients with modestly low vitamin D levels were 50 per cent more likely than others with normal levels to use opioids, while patients who had severe vitamin D deficiency were 90 per cent more likely.
Another analysis found that patients diagnosed with opioid use disorder (OUD) were more likely than others to be deficient in vitamin D.
Back in the lab, one of the study's other critical findings could have significant implications, said Fisher.
"When we corrected vitamin D levels in the deficient mice, their opioid responses reversed and returned to normal," he said.
In humans, vitamin D deficiency is widespread, but is safely and easily treated with low-cost dietary supplements, notes Fisher.
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