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Nagaland reports 700 new tobacco-related cancer cases

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By Thejoto Nienu Updated: May 31, 2023 9:40 pm
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Y Kikheto Sema with department officials and school management at Kevilhouü Rio Auditorium, G Rio School, Kohima, on Wednesday. (EM Images)

KOHIMA: Commissioner and Secretary, department of Health and Family Welfare, Y Kikheto Sema, on Wednesday, said tobacco consumption in Nagaland is the second highest in the country, with adolescents between the ages of 13-15 accounting for the highest number of consumers at 43% in the state.

He was addressing the World No Tobacco Day at Kevilhouü Rio Auditorium, G Rio School, Kohima organised by State Tobacco Control Cell, National Tobacco Control Programme, Nagaland as special guest.

He informed that in Nagaland, 700 new tobacco-related cancer cases are registered in hospitals, adding that in Northeast India, 49% of all cancer cases in men and 22 % in women are attributed to tobacco use.

Sema also informed that tobacco is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in the world and responsible for 8.2 million deaths globally and 1.3 million deaths in India.

The official highlighted that in 1987, WHO created World No Tobacco Day to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes; May 31 was declared World Tobacco Day and this year’s theme is “We need food, not tobacco”.

He maintained that this year’s theme aims to raise awareness about alternative crop production and marketing opportunities for tobacco farmers and encourage them to grow sustainable, nutritious crops. 

The official pointed out that about 124 countries grow tobacco as a cash crop, covering an estimated 3.2 million hectares of land. Approximately 2.00 lakh hectares of land are cleared every year for growing tobacco crops.

He added that growing tobacco harms one’s health, the health of farmers and the planet. The WHO had teamed up with other United Nations agencies to support farmers wishing to convert from growing tobacco to growing food.

“By choosing to grow food instead of tobacco, we prioritise health, preserve ecosystems, and strengthen food security for all”, he said, and asserted that there is a growing food crisis due to conflicts, wars, climatic change, and the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 There were 135 million people facing acute food insecurity in 2019, but now it has increased to about 349 million, an increase of 159% in just four years, informed the official.

Meanwhile, he also highlighted the staggering prevalence rate of tobacco and consumption of other related products in the state based on a pilot study conducted by the State Tobacco Control Cell on Tobacco Products (Refer tables).

Total consumption and expenditure on tobacco products in Nagaland on the basis of Global adults’ tobacco survey 15 years and above

  State Total Population0-14 years15 years and above
19,78,502 (2011 Census)6,79,03219,78,502 – 6,79,032 = 12,99,470
Item% of 15 years and aboveAs per survey dataEven if we take 75% of survey data
Tobacco prevalence43% of 12,99,4705,58,7724,19,079
Pan-masala with Zarda21.1 % of 12,99,4702,74,1882,05,641
Bidi smokers9.9 % of 12,99,4701,28,648        96,486
Cigarettes smokers3.4 % of 12,99,47044,182        33,136
Pan/Tamul with tobacco17.5 % of 12,99,4702,27,4071,70,555

Pilot study conducted by State Tobacco Control Cell on Tobacco Products Expenditure in Nagaland 

ProductsAverage expenditure per person, per day (in Rupees)Average expenditure per person, per month (in Rupees)Average expenditure per person, per year (in Rupees)
Manufactured Cigarettes 126.00 3,780.00 45,360.00
Bidi 32.46 973.80 11,685.60
Pan masala with Tobacco 58.77 1,763.10 21,157.20
Kaka sada 18.64 559.20 6,710.40
Pan with Zarda 55.42 1,662.60 19,951.20
Tamul with kala sada 61.44 1,843.20 22,118.40
Total Expenditure
per year on
Spend Average per year
(in Rupees)
No. of users
(15 years & above)
Amount spent
(Rs. in crore)
As per survey dataEven if we take 75% of survey data100%75%
Cigarettes45,36044,18233,136    200.41    150.31
Bidi11,685 1,28,64896,486    150.32    112.74
Pan Masala with Tobacco21,157 2,74,1882,05,641    580.10    435.07
Pan/ Tamul with Tobacco22,118 2,27,4071,70,555502.98377.23
Grand Total (INR in crore)1,434.811,076.10

Tobacco-Free Zone initiatives

Further, he highlighted the various actions and initiatives undertaken in the recent past such as declaring all educational Institutions, government and private, in Nagaland (2684 schools) as tobacco-free zone (TFZ) on April 14, w.e.f May 1, 2023.

He also pointed out that all government hospitals, health care, health offices including directorate as TFZ on January 23, 2023 w.e.f February 1, 2023 and subsequently on April 4, 2023 declared all private hospitals, health institutions as tobacco-free zone w.e.f April 11, 2023.

While appreciating the field officers, police personnel, educational institutions and administration for prompt action he informed that the next plan to declare all government, public offices, and institutions as TFZ is now moot.

He informed that within a month, around 180 shops were penalised and INR 18,630 was collected as fine.

Further, he stated that to mark the occasion, in strengthening the initiative from tobacco-free schools to tobacco-free homes, for the first time in the country and the world, a total of 105 tobacco-free home certificates will be issued on the day.

Accordingly, he also handed 15 certificates to the homes/ children of G Rio School.

 On the occasion ‘Tobacco Free Youth Campaign’ from May 31 till July 31 was also launched while Anti-Tobacco Pledge was also administered to the staff and students.

 Earlier, a talk on ‘Economic Impact of Tobacco Use’ was delivered by Linoka K Awomi, DTCC Consultant, NTCP. The programme was chaired by Radhika Chetri, TGT, G Rio School Kohima, a prayer was offered by Aphre Kerhuo and vote of thanks was proposed by Dr. Arenla Walling, Dy. Director and SNO (NTCP) DH&FW.

Also read: Shops in Kohima openly sell tobacco products to students

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By Thejoto Nienu Updated: May 31, 2023 9:40:49 pm
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