Incurable Diseases Await Youngsters If Tobacco Consumption Not Stopped, Says Expert - Eastern Mirror
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Incurable diseases await youngsters if tobacco consumption not stopped, says expert

By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: May 31, 2022 1:53 am

Henlly Phom Odyuo
Dimapur, May 30 (EMN):
Everybody knows the ill-effects of tobacco use but its consumption, especially among the youngsters, continues to be high in Nagaland at 43% against the national average of just 8%, making the state highest consumer of tobacco products in the country.

The consumption of tobacco is highest between the age of 13 and 15 years; 62% is boys and 24% girls, as per the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS).

This was revealed by Additional Director of the Health department and State Nodal Officer of National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) Dr. Chiekroshuyi Tetseo to Eastern Mirror on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day, which is observed on May 31 to spread awareness about the dangers of tobacco and its negative impact on health.

Though smoking has reduced to 13% in the state, unless tobacco consumption is stopped, the younger generation will have diseases that will be left incurable, Tetseo warned.

It is hard to comprehend why people, especially children, consume or smoke tobacco products, he said, adding that it contains many harmful chemicals due to extensive use of insecticides and manures during the growing period.

When cigarettes are burnt, more harmful compounds and free radicals are formed and this is the reason why smoking tobacco products contain more than 7000 chemicals and smokeless tobacco contains 3095 chemicals, it was informed.

“When this toxic mix of chemicals is inhaled or ingested into the body, it can trigger off a cascade of unpredictable reactions which can affect any part of our body. Pan masala products with or without tobacco contain addictive and harmful chemicals to name a few, and these products are to be considered as tobacco products as most of them have tobacco in it or sold with it. In fact, pan masala is responsible for increasing number of pre-cancerous lesions among the youth,” the state nodal officer said.

‘Many hardly try to quit’

Tetseo pointed out that even teachers and health workers consume tobacco without bothering if they are with their students and patients. With the numbers more among the youngsters, he said that “it may have become a lifestyle for them” and many hardly try to quit.

According to the GYTS report, 79% of current smokers wanted to quit smoking and 73% of current users of smokeless tobacco tried to quit in the past 12 months. Also, 28% of students were exposed to tobacco smoke at home and 58% of students were exposed to tobacco inside enclosed public places.

On the access and availability, it reported that 85% of current cigarette smokers and 78% of current bidi smokers bought cigarettes or bidi from a store, paan shop and street vendor. Among the current smokers who bought cigarettes or bidi, 82% of cigarette smokers and 83% of bidi smokers were not refused because of their age.

In Nagaland, the places of usual smoking were 28.9% at home, 21.5% at school, 4.5% at friend’s house, 32.5% at social events and 0.8% at public places.

‘As many as 54.1% of the smokers who quit smoking aimed to improve health, which was found to be the highest; 22.3% quit because their family did not like it and 9.8% because of lack of money. Among the tobacco users, 42.8% tobacco users quit to improve health, 34% because of lack of money and 11.1% as family did not like it,’ he informed.

It was reported that the majority of the tobacco consumption was found in rural areas. The study by GYTS reported that 71.5% in rural areas and 64.2% in urban areas have tried smoking and smokeless tobacco, while the current users are found to be more in rural areas with 46.8% and 37.4% in urban areas.

Dr. Tetseo pointed out that the NTCP along with the municipal council is working towards a tobacco vendor license, where a shop requires license to sell tobacco.

‘Whoever wants to sell tobacco should obtain a license from the municipal. Although this is yet to be enforced it is under the consideration of the municipal,’ he informed.

Tobacco-free Nagaland app

In co-ordination with the stakeholders, Tetseo said, the NTCP is extensively working towards achieving Tobacco-Free Educational Institutions (ToFEI) and has introduced a tobacco-free Nagaland app to monitor the progress in achieving ToFEI. He pointed out that in Nagaland, the many shopkeepers violate the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003.

Through the app, he reiterated that the teacher in-charge can report any violation instead of going to the police station to file a report. The schools can score points in reducing the use of tobacco, he said. He also acknowledged that Zunheboto, Mon and Wokha were enforcing the tobacco-free Nagaland app better than the other districts in the state while Dimapur and Kohima districts were lacking behind. He pointed out that this was due to COVID duty engagements and expressed hope that the two districts will enforce the use of the app effectively.

How to quit tobacco consumption

Psychologist Lenti Aier shared that it would be impossible for an addict to stop the consumption of tobacco products immediately, so they should not be forced to completely stop as it would not be possible for immediate accomplishment.

They should be given alternatives by reducing the quantity of consumption in a week followed by day.

“Also there has to be a willingness to change from the addict otherwise no amount of therapy and techniques will help them,” Aier noted.

By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: May 31, 2022 1:53:13 am
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