Smoking kills and quitting tobacco makes sense, district panchayat president Saji Chacko has said.
Dr. Chacko was inaugurating the district-level observance of World No Tobacco Day at an official function, jointly organised by the district administration and the Health Department, here on Friday.
He called for stern measures to check the abuse of tobacco products. Though smoking had reportedly come down to a certain extent, the abuse of various other tobacco products had gone up and the authorities concerned should take the factor seriously, he said.
Dr. Chacko said people who smoked were ten times more likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers. Hundreds of thousands of people die of diseases caused by smoking and other tobacco abuse across the world every year, he added.
Additional District Magistrate H. Salimraj, who holds the charge of District Collector, delivered the anti-tobacco message on the occasion.
Mr. Salimraj said smoking was a slow way to die and its effects on the body often caused years of suffering. Heart diseases and strokes were more common among smokers than non-smokers, he said.
P.N. Vidyadharan, district programme manager of National Rural Health Mission, said chewing tobacco increased the risk of oral cancer, throat and pharynx cancers. Dr. Vidyadharan said oral cancer risk for those who chew tobacco was approximately 50 times higher than that of the non-tobacco users, he said.
K.V. Lal, Assistant Excise Commissioner, read out the anti-tobacco pledge on the occasion.