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Prevention is better than cure: expert

Special Correspondent
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‘WHO theme — Ban Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship — is apt’

Team spirit:Ramesh Babu, chief cardiologist of Ramesh Hospitals, participating in the cycle rally organised by The Hindu and the hospital on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day in Vijayawada on Friday. —PHOTO: V. RAJU
Team spirit:Ramesh Babu, chief cardiologist of Ramesh Hospitals, participating in the cycle rally organised by The Hindu and the hospital on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day in Vijayawada on Friday. —PHOTO: V. RAJU

Cigarettes contain about 4,000 harmful chemicals and, of them, 60 are carcinogen agents, Ramesh Hospitals chief cardiologist P. Ramesh Babu has said.

Addressing participants after a cycle rally organised by The Hindu and the hospital on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day here on Friday, Dr. Ramesh highlighted the ill-effects of tobacco consumption.

In his PowerPoint presentation, he said tobacco consumption in India was about 57 per cent and over 5,500 new users get added every day. “Of them, 15 per cent are under 15 years.” In Andhra Pradesh, the consumption rate among those below 35 years was about 50 per cent, one of the highest, he said.

About World Health Organisation (WHO) theme for the day — Ban Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship — he said, “It is apt as the usage of tobacco products peaked during the 1950s and 60s through movies. It was only post 1970s that the awareness campaign picked up in the U.S.”

Dr. Ramesh pointed out that though India was on a par with the U.S. on the technology front, it was way behind in creating awareness on the ill-effects of tobacco use. “Prevention should be our focus, rather than cure,” he observed.

Agreeing with Dr. Ramesh, VMC Chief Medical Health Officer M. Satyanarayana Raju pointed out that the 2003 legislation banning commercials pertaining to tobacco products was a historic one, but it needed to be implemented strictly.

About six million people are killed by tobacco every year and over half-a-million affected by just being passive smokers. But still, the business of tobacco continues to flourish. The annual sales of various tobacco products in India is about Rs.10,270 crore and this being after the government ordered a 25 per cent reduction in the tobacco crop in 2011 and achieving it in 2012.

Chairman of Ramesh Hospitals M.S. Ram Mohan addressed the gathering.

Earlier, over 60 cyclists, comprising staff of the hospital, The Hindu , and members of the Active Bicyclers Association took part in the cycle rally.

In Andhra Pradesh, the consumption rate among those below 35 years is about 50 per cent, one of the highest

Dr. Ramesh Babu

The 2003 legislation banning commercials is historic, but it has to be enforced

M. Satyanarayana Raju

VMC CMO

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