Oncologists are unanimous that 90 per cent of oral cancers could be prevented if the government implement the Supreme Court’s order which banned chewing tobacco being sold rampantly in twin packs. The Supreme Court on September 23, 2016 had imposed ban on sale of tobacco in twin-packs such as gutka, tobacco, pan masala, khaini etc. “When we are aware what causes 90 per cent of oral cancers and the law is there to ban these chewing tobacco products in twin packs, then what is stopping the enforcement?” Head and Neck Surgery Oncologist, Dr Sourav Dutta, told PTI on the World Cancer Day today. Dutta, also the state patron of the Voice of Tobacco Victims, said it is alarming that about 10 lakh deaths are reported every year due to tobacco, and the government must strictly enforce the ban. “As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2017, there are 26.7 crore users of tobacco in India and 5500 children initiate tobacco use everyday. One-third of these tobacco users will die prematurely,” Sambandh Health Foundation Trustee and Head of Tobacco Control, Sanjay Seth told PTI.
“Lakhs of Indian families are devastated with cancer deaths, which are preventable. Tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death.” Former Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Dinesh Trivedi also stressed the need for immediate measure to arrest deaths in cancer. “Prevention is better than cure. The governments should think over it seriously as it accounts for more deaths worldwide than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined,” Trivedi, a Trinamool Congress MP, told PTI.
“As Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, I had suggested the then government to reduce tobacco cultivation and compensate the farmers for the losses in other ways, but nothing has been done as yet,” he said. Interacting with students in Delhi University recently, Trivedi had said, “Confidence comes from the way you carry yourself and not from the brand of cigarette you smoke…. I request you to choose a healthy lifestyle instead of a cancerous hobby.”