Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 31:
A whopping 19 lakh tobacco users of Odisha get cancer every year and more than a lakh die of it. If estimates by specialists are to be believed, the death toll is expected to reach 1 Crore by 2030 at this rate.
While the government is sitting idle after declaring a ban on tobacco products, shop owners across the state continue to sell such products, mainly gutkha, out in the open. The government clearly has forgotten to enforce its own rules and in the meanwhile, many new gutkha companies have popped up.
The NGOs are doing no better. They wake up only on certain occasions of the year like today, when World No Smoking Day is being observed all over the globe, to use their rallies and awareness camps as a photo opportunity.
All of this happens while kids as young as six-year-old are seen consuming gutkha and lakhs die of cancer every single year.
As per a recent study, out of the chemicals found in tobacco products, 74 have been identified as poisonous. Apart from cancer, the smoke of tobacco products cause heart disease. The smoke has particularly bad effects on children and pregnant women who are exposed to it. Cases of death of pregnant women and abnormal weight gain among children who are exposed to this smoke have been noticed.
“There are up to 4000 chemical components in the smoke of tobacco related products. While there are 69 components in cigarette that can lead to cancer, there are 30 such components in gutkha products. Among children below 15 years, 10 percent use tobacco products. A large-scale awareness programme is necessary to contain this,” suggested Cancer Specialist Ghanashyam Biswas.