No Tobacco Day: Moves afoot to make cancer a notifiable disease

In India one in every five male deaths and one in every 20 female deaths are caused by smoking and other forms of tobacco use

New Delhi: As the country observes 'World No Tobacco Day' on Thursday, moves to make cancer a notifiable disease are making progress with two states Kerala and Punjab agreeing to such a proposal, reports PTI.

A meeting of various states will be held in the Health Ministry here next week to discuss the issue. 

Punjab and Kerala are already registering all cancer cases and are creating a database of all patients in their states.

"We are working on possibilities of making cancer a notifiable disease and an expert group is already looking into this," Health Secretary PK Pradhan told PTI.

He, however, said before doing so, steps to improve infrastructure for cancer treatment and detection have to be strengthened across the country.

Meanwhile, leading oncologist Vinod Raina said that in India's context, statistics related to tobacco -- a major cause of cancer -- are shocking as one in every five male deaths and one in every 20 female deaths are caused by smoking and other forms of tobacco use.

"India has now around 12 crore tobacco users, which means every 9th Indian consumes tobacco," Raina said, adding that "one-third of cancers in India are related to tobacco/smoking."

Raina, who is head of Medical Oncology at AIIMS, said "Tobacco smoke is responsible for 80% to 90% of all lung tumours."

He said more than 56% of lung cancer cases are detected at the 4th stage where chances of survival are three to four months. He blamed lack of awareness and facilities for screening as being responsible for this, saying less than 10% of cancer cases are reported right now.

Pradhan said, "Government is working out ways and means to strengthen the existing cancer centres and improve the screening process, besides creating more human resources for cancer detection and treatment." 

According to Raina, there are now 19 cancers for which there is strong evidence that they are caused by cigarette smoking.

He said lung cancer is directly linked to cigarette smoking, which is also one of the leading causes of death in the country.

Raina cautioned that cigarettes contain over 4,000 toxic chemicals, 50 of which are known to cause cancer and Nicotine is one of them.

"At low doses it can stimulate nerve cells, but at high doses it is a poison that has been used as an insecticide. One can inhale 1-2 mg of nicotine while smoking a cigarette, but 60 mg of it is enough to kill most people," he said.

He warned that when inhaled, nicotine first goes to the lungs and bloodstream and within seven seconds, one quarter of nicotine has gone straight to the brain.

"It has a powerful effect on the brain and the central nervous system.It causes your brain to release a 'pleasure' chemical called dopamine which gives you a false sense of well-being and soon you want more of it on a regular basis," he explained, adding that "this is the beginning of an addiction and the reason why people find it hard to quit." 

But if someone wants to quit, he or she has to prepare for it as there is no "magic wand" to give up smoking, he said.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2009- 2010, nearly 241 million or 35% of Indians (47% men and 20.3% women) are currently using some form of tobacco, which kills nearly 10 lakh people in the country every year.

The WHO 2012 Global Report on Mortality claims that 7% of all deaths for people aged 30 and over in India are attributable to tobacco.


Bharat Bandh: Buses pelted with stones in Mumbai, Maharashtra

Local trains and buses were plying as usual in the morning in most parts of the city but the number of commuters was lower than normal. Shops and commercial establishments remain partially closed

Mumbai: BEST buses were pelted with stones in suburban Mulund and Dadar areas in the city as the Bharat Bandh called by the NDA to protest the petrol price hike began on Thursday, reports PTI.

BJP activists staged noisy protests outside Borivali station, at SV Road in Kandivali and also in suburban Chembur.

Local trains and buses were plying as usual in most parts of the city but the number of commuters was lower than normal.

However, transport was hit in Mulund, Dadar, Worli and Currey Road areas due stone pelting on BEST buses.

The Eastern Expressway, the arterial road which connects suburbs to Mumbai saw less traffic than usual as some of the officegoers preferred to stay home in view of the bandh.

Taxis and autorickaws were plying normally. However, leaders of Taxi and Rickshaw Unions have announced that they will take vehicles off the roads in case of any untoward incident.

The dabbawalaas, who supply tiffin to office goers have also taken a day off.

In Pune, protestors damaged 13 buses of the Pune Municipal transport while stone pelting was reported on 10 buses in Nagpur and one bus in neighbouring Thane district.

In Satara, in western Maharashtra, activists stopped some buses by blocking roads as part of the bandh.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai University has announced that there will no change in its exam schedule for today irrespective of the nationwide bandh.

Home Minister R R Patil said the government will take stringent action against those creating nuisance during the bandh and has also asked police officials to deal sternly with incidents of violence during the bandh.

In Pune, the stone pelting incidents were reported from Deccan and Kothrud areas resulting in breaking of window glass panes of vehicles , police said.

Miscreants also deflated tyres of buses at some places.

The buses however, continued to ply with police protection and a large number of rickshaws too were seen on city roads.

Shops and commercial establishments were partially closed.




Adi Daruwalla

4 years ago

Bandhs need to be peaceful. They are to make a point that the government is in limbo. It is unfortunate that rowdies marginalize already existing scarce assets of the state like buses. Where were the platoons of SRPF and police when these incidents took place. The people responsible should have been arrested and charged. Dont arrest politicians who want their photos on page 3 for publicity gimmicks. The UPA govt need to give action oriented results to the NATION not lip service. Well Manmohan Singhs lips suddenly moved when he was charged with Coal allocation scam. Can he do something concrete instead of being a katputli puppet in the hands of the party whip and others. India has lost credibilty in the global markets, but still thinks that due to the global scenario investors will be forced to come here. There will be better avenues and India has been a big loser since Q3 of 2011 till date

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