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6.25 lakh children smoke cigarettes daily in India: Tobacco Atlas report

Despite lowering tobacco use in recent years, India is home to an estimated 625,000 child smokers aged 10–14 years, according to Global Tobacco Atlas data released last week.

Every year, more than 932,600 Indian lives are lost to tobacco-related diseases which in a week claim 17,887 lives, according to the tobacco atlas prepared by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and US-based Vital Strategies.

With 103 million adults (15 years and above) still smoking daily, the economic cost of smoking in India is Rs 1,818,691 million. This includes both direct cost of healthcare and the indirect cost of lost productivity from early death and illness.

Although fewer children smoke cigarettes in India than in medium Human Development Index (HDI) nations, more than 429,500 boys and 195,500 girls in the country have been found to be take puffs daily.

More men smoke cigarettes than women daily, with the numbers standing at 90 million and 13 million respectively.

Another 171 million people use smokeless tobacco, which is the leading cause of mouth and throat cancers.

“There is still a lot that needs to be done to curb the use of tobacco that is one of the leading causes of cardio-vascular diseases, stroke, pulmonary diseases and certain types of cancers,” says Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, senior cancer surgeon, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai.

In 2016, an estimated 82.12 billion cigarettes were produced in India.

The combined revenue of the world’s six largest tobacco companies in 2016 was more than USD 346 billion, which is equal to 15% of the gross national income of India.

“The industry is a powerful force that does not fear actions of smaller nation-states because of their extensive resources and global market power. Larger economies and nations have the opportunity to help the smaller allies face down this threat,” the report stated.

Source: Hindustan Times

Photo: Freepik

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