New England Journal of Medicine on smoking and death in India predicts that by 2010, nearly one million people a year will die because of tobacco smoking.
This means that one in five of all male deaths and one in twenty of all female deaths will be caused by tobacco. Most affected age group is between 30 and 69, according to the study. Research conducted by the journal is a shocking revelation to the government, health authority, and the smoking youths. Twelve doctors from India, Canada, and Britain conducted the study with the help of about 900 health workers.
Another shocking revelation is that 50 per cent of those who die from smoking are illiterates. “Smoking caused about 38% of deaths from tuberculosis, 32% of deaths from cancer, and 20% of deaths from vascular disease.” says a nationally representative Case Control Study of Smoking and Death in India.
The report is based on an all India survey of deaths among 1.1 million homes. The report cautions that the number of deaths will go further, if action is not taken. When European countries are moving fast to prohibit smoking in public places, India is lagging behind. Most recently France has imposed a ban on public smoking.
There is lot of freedom in India for smokers. Even in public places, trains, and in railway stations, cafes, pubs – India puffs away freely. India had alarmed tobacco users by advertising on their cigarette packets.
Scientific studies have also proved that passive smoking is more dangerous. Children and women are under danger of passive smoking if their family head is a chain smoker.
In Kerala the danger of passive smoking is much higher than the national average. High density of population, the tremendous increase of tobacco users, still uncontrolled public smoking are the reasons. Even if there exists a ban on public smoking in Kerala, there is not enough space for proper monitoring. In the beginning of the prohibition law, police had registered many cases against public smoking.
But imposing of smoking ban alone is not a solution to control smoking according to medical experts. The necessity of public awareness and health campaigns has been recommended by N.G.O s and health workers many times. Smoking in public places like bus stands, railway stations, hospital compounds, moving trains and other vehicles, tea shops and restaurants are common in Kerala.
Nobody is caring for his life or his fellow beings’. One puffs smoke in front of his fellow being deliberately or not. The non-smoking person being his family members such as wife, children, or others. Studies have proved that smoking is the main cause of oral and lung cancer. But the most dangerous reality is that the innocent people are the scapegoats of smokers’ unhealthy actions.
In Mumbai many girls are coming out against smoking. They don’t like to marry a person with smoking habit. They campaign “Don’t marry smokers”. Smokers lose thousands as for simple puffs. This affect their family’s financial set-up also. In short they lose health and wealth.
Self awareness, counseling, and implementation of strict laws are the need of the hour.