India has a high prevalence of women consuming smokeless tobacco, with 18.4 per cent women, mostly from rural areas, consuming smokeless tobacco, reveals a report released in Mumbai on Monday by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Cancer Institute.
The report titled ‘Smokeless tobacco and public health: a global perspective’ was released at Tata Memorial Hospital during the third national tobacco conference.
According to the report, more than 300 million people in at least 70 countries use smokeless tobacco, with the prevalence higher amongst youth aged between 13 to 15 years. India and Bangladesh together account for a significant 80 per cent of the total smokeless tobacco users across the globe.
Samira Asma, chief of global tobacco control branch in CDC, said, “Urgent action is needed in countries where smokeless tobacco use is most prevalent. Reduction of smokeless tobacco use should be an integral component of national tobacco prevention and control strategies.”
The report highlights that lime (khaini), gutka, betel and quid are the most popular options that consumers use. In Maharashtra, though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the production and consumption of such tobacco products, but the sale continues even now, said Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, head and neck onco-surgeon from the Tata Memorial Hospital.
Smokeless tobacco mainly comprises substances like areca nut, beetle nut, zarda, khaini, and paan masala. Experts claimed that it can cause oral, and pancreatic cancer along with cardio-vascular diseases.
Amal Pusp, director of tobacco program at the Ministry of Health and Family welfare, said, “There is a need for combined efforts to curb tobacco use in the country. We are also looking at a total end of e-cigarettes which have currently become popular.”