Oral health experts say this is the most effective way to deter addicts

More than 50 per cent of oral cancers are caused by tobacco and the government spends Rs. 1,04,500 crore on cancer treatment, according to the Indian Dental Association.

Oral health experts are now demanding the government to increase tax on tobacco stating that this was the single most effective way to get addicts to give up the habit.

India is one of the signatories to an international public health treaty by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is obligated to increase tax on tobacco products as one of the proven strategies for tobacco control under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Around 50 per cent of the population in the State use tobacco in some form.

Kishore H.C., secretary, IDA, Karnataka, said the World Bank had recommended tax increase of 65 to 80 per cent on all tobacco products.

Signature campaign

While Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan have successfully increased tax to 36 per cent, 40 per cent and 65 per cent respectively, Karnataka levies 17 per cent tax on cigarettes and zero per cent on beedis.

Studies show that imposition of tax on beedis will bring a reduction of 10 per cent in its consumption, he said.

M.L.V. Prabhuji, president, IDA, Karnataka, said that, as part of Dentists’ Day celebrations, a signature campaign would be launched on July 6 to urge the government to increase taxes. “Pre-cancerous cases can now be seen among people in their 20s,” he said.

The IDA would pressure the government to discuss tax increase in the current legislature session, he said.