Superintendent of Police Sanjeev M. Patil said on Monday that it was essential that people kept away from tobacco and tobacco-related products as the country had now become the capital of oral cancer.
He was speaking after inaugurating the Anti-Tobacco Campaign called Rose Campaign (Gulabi Andolan) organised by the district administration and other departments here. The announcement of Udupi becoming a Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) High Compliance District was also made at the function.
Dr. Patil, who is a dentist by training, said that nearly 75,000 cases of oral cancer were being reported in the country every year, while nearly 2,500 persons were dying of oral cancer. Yet another problem was that the number of women consuming tobacco and tobacco-related products too was showing an upward trend. Nearly 1,700 cases had been registered under COTPA in the district so far this year.
While people in Udupi district were aware of the consequences of consumption of tobacco and its related products, this was not the case with the large number of migrant workers who came from other districts and States.
Hence, it was necessary to hold the Anti-Tobacco Campaign every year so that awareness was created among the migrant workers too. After the consumption of Gutka was banned, Gutka-related products had made their appearance in the markets. It was essential to curb them also. “All efforts should be made to make Udupi a ‘Zero Tobacco Consumption District’,” Dr. Patil said.
Vasudev, District Surveillance Officer, said that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 10 lakh persons were dying in India annually due to consumption of tobacco. As per Global Adult Survey 2015-16, about 28 % of people in the country were consuming one or the other form of tobacco products.
Under the Rose Campaign, roses were given to petty shop owners selling cigarettes, beedis, tobacco and its related products and were made aware of its consequences. These shops were told to display boards which warned people against consumption of tobacco and its related products, he said.
Meenakshi Bannanje, president of the Udupi City Municipal Council, Yashpal Suvarna, municipal councillor, G. Anuradha, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Seshashayana Karinja, Deputy Director of Public Instruction, M. Selvarajan, Deputy Director, State Tobacco Control Unit, were present.
Earlier, school and college students took out a jatha urging people to shun tobacco and tobacco-related products.