Nothing stops the smoke

BANGALORE: Even with proposed tobacco control measures – health warnings, raised taxes and regulations on sales, there seems to be no reduction in tobacco use among the people.

According to a recent National Family Health Survey, 46.5 percent of males and 13.8 percent of females in the country are regular tobacco users.

Sale of tobacco From October 2008, and smoking at public places, workplaces or at restaurants were banned. But this too did not bring down the sale of tobacco in the city. Praful Lal, Corporate Affairs Head, JT International India, city based cigratte manufacturing and distributing unit, said, “We have been doing well and there is no variation in the sales. Yes, during October- November 2008 when smoking ban was imposed initially there was a bit dip in the market, but it has taken up now and is as usual”.

Another tobacco dealer, owner of Vanalakshmi Trading Company, KR Market, said, “I deal with all kinds of tobacco products and have been in the business for more than 20 years now. Everyday I get minimum business of around Rs 5,000”.

However, Nayaz, partner of Special Ashoka Beedi Works, asserted, “Though the sales have not been hampered much, but the huge taxes and duties levied on tobacco, has been affecting manufacturers like us”.

Health hazards: 56.4 percent of cancers in men and 44.9 percent of cancers in women are caused by tobacco in India, says a report of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on “Tobacco Control in India”. The toxic substances contained in the tobacco reduces the oxygen carrying capacity and narrowing of blood vessels affecting the endothelial cell in blood vessel leading to lung inflammation and increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Of late more people in the age group of 25-28 years are being adversely affected by the use of tobacco, says KSS Bhatt, Director, Clinical Cardiology, Manipal Heart Institute . “Almost every day we get one or two tobacco related cases.

Two months back we had two BPO employees of 25-26 years, chain smokers.

We had to conduct angioplasty and open up the blood vessel” he added.

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