Sale of Gutka, chewing tobacco products rampant in Ganjam district

Sale of chewing tobacco products is rampant in Ganjam district despite restrictions of State government although chewing tobacco is most prevalent in this area.

This was a major issue of discussion during the observation of ‘World No Tobacco Day’ in the city on Friday. It was jointly observed by the local units of Indian Medical Association (IMA), Indian Chest Society (ICS), National College of Chest Physicians (NCCP) and physicians of Berhampur.

In the morning a rally was taken out from Khallikote Autonomous College stadium to create awareness against tobacco. Members of various organisations took part in this rally. The rally culminated at Ganjam Kala Parishad auditorium, where a seminar had been organised to create awareness about hazards of tobacco use. This seminar was chaired by P.C.Sahu and was addressed by senior physicians of the city like president of the Berhampur unit of IMA E.Jayanti Rao, president of doctors’forum Arjun Sahu, Narayan Mishra, chest physician of MKCG medical college etc.

The experts lamented the fact that State government despite banning gutka had not yet taken proper measures to enforce the order. They alleged that sale of gutka and other chewing tobacco products were being sold openly in the city as well as throughout Ganjam district. Prof. Mishra said as per a study by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in Odisha chewing tobacco was most prevalent in Ganjam district. It is an irony that despite this fact ban order on gutka had not been taken seriously in Ganjam district.

Prof. Mishra said In India as well as Odisha chewing tobacco was more prevalent than other forms of tobacco use. Around 20 per cent of the tobacco users smoke cigarettes, 40 per cent smoke bidi especially for economic reasons and 40 per cent resort to chewing tobacco. Tobacco use especially its chewing is on the rise in south Odisha.

Smoking tobacco directly affects the respiratory system and causes many medical problems that ranges from simple bronchitis in the beginning and later gives rise of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The experts were of the opinion that COPD cases were also on the rise in southern Odisha and tobacco consumption was a major reason behind it. Smoking tobacco also leads to lung cancer. They also pointed out that chewing tobacco can lead to loss of appetite, acidity, oral cancer as well as cancer of oesophagus.

“Nicotine consumption in any form causes rise in blood cholesterol, blood pressure and also leads to narrowing of blood vessels supplying blood to the heart. So, it is duty of all to save the younger generation from the lure of tobacco,” the physicians said.

‘Sale of Gutka, chewing tobacco products is rampant in Ganjam district’