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The use of smokeless tobacco has become a habit among the youth, said a report released by the Ministry of Health, in association with WHO and several other organisations, at the seventh session of Conference of Parties to WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control on Friday.
“Cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx are an important public health problem in India, with nearly 85,000 new cases among men and 34,000 among women in India each year. At least 90% of these cancers are caused by tobacco use in some form, and more than half are caused by SLT use. The association between SLT and cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx in India has been studied and documented for several decades. All cohort and case control studies from India confirm a strong association between SLT use (which includes betel quid with tobacco) and cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx. At least two studies in India have shown an association between use of SLT containing areca nut and oesophageal cancer and one of these showed an association of plain tobacco use with oesophageal cancer,” the report said.
The report calls for multi-stakeholder engagement for an effective approach to preventing and controlling smokeless tobacco use in India.