Action plan soon to make U.P. tobacco-free

With “gutka” consumption in the State assuming ominous proportions and the younger generation getting increasingly addicted to tobacco, a “tobacco-free” Uttar Pradesh is high on the agenda of the Akhilesh Yadav Government. Chief Secretary Javed Usmani said on Thursday that an action plan would be formulated for making UP tobacco-free.

Presiding over a meeting of “Campaign of Tobacco Free Kids” here, Mr. Usmani directed senior officials of the State Health, Education, Home and Tax departments to formulate separate plans for curbing the use of tobacco.

Mr. Usmani said that according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey-2010 of the Union Heath Ministry, a staggering 4.5 crore people in the State used tobacco in its different forms but mainly gutka. UP is placed fifth in gutka consumption in the country. Cancer and heart diseases are related to tobacco consumption, he added.

Data presented by experts at the meeting revealed that every third person treated for mouth cancer at Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai was from UP.

Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, a cancer surgeon at Tata Memorial Hospital, said that according to the World Health Organisation every third person consuming tobacco dies of cancer, heart disease and lung ailments. While Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Kerala have banned “gutka”, the tax on tobacco products in UP is very low at 18.5%. As compared to this, Rajasthan imposes a tax of 50% on tobacco products.

What has compounded the already grim situation is the age bracket of the people falling prey to tobacco-related diseases.

According to WHO, youth in the age group of 20-25 years are prone to these diseases.

Uttar Pradesh ranks fifth in gutka consumption in the country

Every third person treated for mouth cancer at TMH Mumbai is from UP

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