Women ignore warnings, light up and puff away

NEW DELHI: Despite all the advertisements, information, and heavy taxation on cigarettes smokers are going to light up anyway. What’s more, women smokers are puffing away, and their tribe has increased. The health service providers aren’t too happy about this. After all, tobacco related disease and death is also on the increase.

Has the government’s anti-tobacco campaign over the last decade failed? Smoking and tobacco chewing remains high among men. The latest data shows Indian women are increasing nicotine use as well.

In 2005-06, 11% women used tobacco in some form. Now the Global Adults Tobacco Survey for 2009, the latest available figure,shows tobacco consumption up to 20% among women.

Dr Sonali Jhanjee, who heads the Tobacco Cessation Clinic at National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre run by AIIMS, told the media that incidence of tobacco-related deaths and co-morbidities in women has gone up, too.

“When we joined the profession, it was rare to find women suffering from lung cancer. Heart attacks were uncommon, too. But now more such cases are being reported and clinical findings reveal strong link between the diseases and tobacco consumption,” Dr Sudhir Khandelwal, professor and head of NDDTC, said.

In Delhi, lung cancer is the sixth most common cancer in women. Doctors warn that cases will continue to increase if urgent steps are not taken to limit tobacco use.

Dr Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant, respiratory and critical care at Apollo Hospitals, feels that many young women connect smoking to empowerment and equality. “Earlier, most conversations took place over a cup of coffee while now very often they take place over a smoke. The portrayal of young and successful women in films and TV plays a role,” he said.

Dr Khandelwal said that women are beginning to take their first puff at a younger age. This may lead to higher chances of tobacco addiction and greater health damage in the long term.

Experts say smoking during pregnancy accounts for 20-30% low-birth weight babies, up to 14% of preterm deliveries and about 10% of all infant deaths.

Dr Prabhat Singh Malik, of B R Ambedkar Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital, AIIMS, says larger pictorial warnings on packs can help discourage smoking. He wants to discourage use of e-cigarettes and hookahs that are popular among teenagers.

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Posted by on May 29, 2015. Filed under Breaking News,HEALTH,INDIA -WIDE. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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