NEW DELHI

Demand for stringent rule to protect new tobacco abusers

Staff Reporter

“The Government should adopt pictorial warnings and bring in more strict enforcement and implementation of laws”

NEW DELHI: Advocating hard hitting pictorial warnings on cigarette packs to deter young people from taking up the habit, A. Sharfudeen, Secretary of the Laryngectomees Welfare Association of Tamil Nadu has appealed to the Union Government to “help avert a million painful slow deaths every year in the country due to smoking related complications”.

A victim of tobacco abuse himself, Mr. Sharfudeen in his petition stated: “I am one of the 800,000 people in the country who get cancer due to tobacco abuse annually. Cancer has taken away my ability to speak freely (I now use an electronic device called the electro larynx to communicate) or eat without discomfort. I acquired cancer because I used to smoke everyday. But like millions of existing users, and many million youths who will take this up in the future – there is little awareness or not sufficient warning of the hazards and risks of smoking that can deter smokers.”

Asking for more stringent rule to protect new tobacco abusers the petitioner has requested that the Government highlight the fact that tobacco related diseases are the single largest preventable cause of death in India.

“Every year, according to the Government of India, nearly one million people die due to tobacco-related illnesses. Tobacco is capable of inflicting cancers in all soft tissues starting from the mouth to the urinary bladder. In women, it additionally predisposes them to cancers of the cervix and breast through tobacco use. Experience from across the world shows that pictorial warnings have reduced many more young people from taking up the habit, and deterred regular smokers. Sadly India has lagged behind developed and most developing countries in adopting this strategy,” said Mr. Sharfudeen.

Stating that misconceived notions and flawed economic arguments were preventing adoption of pictorial warning, he said: “The Government should adopt pictorial warnings as soon as possible and bring in more stringent enforcement and implementation of the laws to prevent the abuse.”

‘I am one of the 800,000 people in the country who get cancer due to tobacco abuse’

‘Every year nearly one million people die due to tobacco-related illnesses’

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