Smokers at 40-50pc higher risk of serious illness and death from Covid: Vardhan
Smokers face a 40 to 50% higher risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday, noting that more than 1.3 million deaths are attributable to smoking every year in India, which is a preventable social problem. the economic burden having an impact on the development of the country.
The remarks were made by Vardhan as he chaired an event to mark World No Tobacco Day and prompted everyone present to pledge to quit smoking, according to a statement from the Department of Health. With the persistent efforts of central and state governments, the prevalence of smoking increased from 34.6% in 2009-10 to 28.6% in 2016-17, he said.
“In India, more than 1.3 million deaths are attributable to smoking each year, or 3,500 deaths per day, which represents a heavy preventable socio-economic burden. Besides the deaths and illnesses it causes, tobacco also has an impact on the economic development of the country, ” he said in the statement.
He also pointed out that smokers have a 40-50% higher risk of developing serious illnesses and dying from COVID-19, the statement said.
According to the WHO study “Economic costs of illnesses and deaths attributable to tobacco use in India”, it has been estimated that the economic burden of illnesses and deaths attributable to tobacco use in India was as high as Rs. 1.77 lakh crores, or about 1 percent of GDP.
Vardhan pointed to the country’s long history of gradually decreasing the population of tobacco users through legal and administrative means. “Tobacco control legislation in India dates back to the ‘Cigarettes Act, 1975’ which requires the display of statutory health warnings in advertising and on cartons and packages of cigarettes,” he said.
Recalling his long battle with tobacco at every stage of his career, Vardhan said, “As Delhi’s Minister of Health, I had the opportunity to craft the Non-Health Protection Act. – smokers and the ban on smoking in Delhi and passed it in the Delhi Assembly in 1997. This same law became the model for central legislation banning smoking in public places in 2002, on the instruction of the Court supreme. “” This was followed by comprehensive tobacco control legislation in 2003 [Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade, Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act –COTPA, 2003] which aims to provide smoke-free public places and also imposes restrictions on tobacco advertising and promotion, “he said. Speaking on the government’s unwavering political commitment to tobacco control, he said: “When I joined the Union as Minister of Health, I decided to fight against the threat of electronic cigarettes and designed the ‘Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019’ which bans the production, the manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertising of electronic cigarettes. “” The exemplary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi convinced various stakeholders and allowed the smooth passage of the bill by parliament in 2019. The government’s sustained efforts have helped save the country from the threat of electronic cigarettes which could have disproportionately affected the adolescent population, ”he said.
Vardhan also pointed to the proliferation of calls for smoking cessation line services.
” We have toll-free start line 1800-112-356 services launched in 2016, which were extended in September 2018. Services are now available in 16 languages and other local dialects from 4 centers. The number of calls to the drop line was 20,500 per month, which rose to 2.50 lakh per month after the expansion, ” he said in the statement.
He reiterated his call for the people to stop using tobacco and tobacco products.
The Union Minister of Health spoke about the ambitious objectives of the 2017 national health policy in terms of tobacco control.
“We have set ourselves an ambitious goal of reducing tobacco use by 30% by 2025. Our tobacco control objectives have been designed taking into account the objectives of the fight against non-communicable diseases and are consistent with the objectives set in the SDG framework. We will soon be releasing the results of the fourth round of the Global Youth Smoking Survey of 13-15 year olds in school, ” he said.
He also thanked all other partner organizations, ministry officials, ground staff and especially WHO for the progress made so far in tobacco control. Vardhan thanked the WHO director-general for recognizing his services and that of the Ministry of Health’s work on tobacco control in 2021 for awarding the Director-General’s Special Recognition Award in 2021, the statement said. Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes individuals or organizations in each of the six WHO regions for their achievements in tobacco control. PTI PLB RHL
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