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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2709

"India spending three times more money to treat tobacco victims than revenue from tobacco" - Professor Surya Kant

By Manjari Peiris

Worldwide tobacco industry's so-called claim is that they are revenue earners for governments and are good for the country's' economy is a totally baseless one, as annual medical costs incurred on people between 35-59 years of age who develop diseases due to tobacco use is INR 1,04,500 crores while the combined tax revenue collected annually from tobacco products is INR 31,000 crores annually.

(Report of India 2015-16) It is spending three times more money than what is earning from the revenue from tobacco said Professor Surya Kant, President, National College of Chest Physicians, India addressing a webinar hosted by Citizen News Service (CNS) to commemorate World Cancer Day.

Worldwide cancer causes more than HIV, TB and Malaria combined. More than 70 percent of these deaths occur in low and middle income countries.Cancer is chiefly caused by chewing tobacco which is a risk factor for 25 life threatening diseases and about 40 types of cancers. India is a country where there is high association between tobacco and cancer causing 1 million tobacco related deaths in an year and it is the world leader in oral cancer.

Globally around one thousand one hundred million people smoke tobacco and around three million people are using smokeless tobacco. As a result around eight million people die each year. Of these seven million are killed by smoking other forms of tobacco and the rest one million are killed by smokeless tobacco.

Cancer Statistics in India reveal an estimated number of people living with cancer is around 2.25 million. Risk of developing cancer before the age of 75 years- in male- 9.81 percent and in female-9.42 percent. Deaths due to cancer is a huge number. Oral cavity Cancer and lung cancer account for over 25 percent of cancer deaths in males. Breast cancer and Oral Cavity cancer account for 25 percent deaths in females.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in men worldwide. Tobacco smoking is most common preventable cause of lung cancer. It contributed to 15.5 percent of new cases diagnosed in 2018. Breast Cancer was the most common cancer in women worldwide contributing 25.4 percent of total number of new cases diagnosed in 2018.

Tobacco is a preventable and common factor and accounts for 25-30 percent of all cancer deaths-1 in every 3 cancer deaths- and 87 percent of deaths due to lung cancer. Compared with non-smokers male smokers are 23 times and female smokers are 17 times more likely to develop lung cancer.

Changing diets in last 3-4 decades globally and in India also account for 30-35 percent of cancer related deaths.

Diet, obesity and metabolic syndrome account for 30-35 percent of cancers. So lifestyle modifications can also prevent cancer.Environmental pollution (outdoor and indoor pollution) is also important factor responsible for cancer.

Thus air pollution is a major concern. 5-10 percent of all cancer cases are due to genetic defects. Rest 90-95 percent are due to environment and lifestyle changes, which are preventable.

- Asian Tribune -

"India spending three times more money to treat tobacco victims than  revenue from tobacco" - Professor Surya Kant
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