NEW DELHI – Smoking is on the decline, but some people are still lighting up. Why? The answer is addiction. Tobacco poses a serious health threat to youth and adults and has significant implications on nation’s public and economic health.
India, the largest producer of fruits and vegetables, milk, major spices is also famous for its production of Tobacco. Being third in the world’s tobacco production list, it is also the largest consumer. According to Public Health Foundation of India, the country spends about 1, 04,500 crores on the use of tobacco. There are about 275 million Tobacco users in India, out of which 14.6 percent are school going children.
Tobacco contains nicotine, a highly addictive drug that makes it difficult for smokers to kick the habit. According to the latest report by independent researchers, more than one million people in the country die of tobacco consumption. This means, out of a group of 1000 smokers, a full quarter of them will die of smoking-related illnesses prior to their middle age. An additional quarter will suffer premature death due to smoking-related illnesses shortly after retirement age, and the other will develop debilitating chronic illnesses.
In every six seconds, someone in the world dies from tobacco use, and around sixth death occurs in India. The government in order to discourage people from smoking raises the price of tobacco, yet smokers continue to be slaves of this habit and often spend a substantial part of their earnings on cigarettes. Cigarette advertisements lure people into smoking and most active smokers cause a great deal of harm to passive smokers as well.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), increasing taxes on tobacco could reduce its consumption. “A tax increase that raises prices of tobacco products by 10 per cent is estimated to reduce tobacco consumption by 4-5 per cent,” remarked Nata Menabde, WHO Representative to India. “Essential as tax goes up, death and disease goes down. Raising taxes on tobacco is a win-win situation. It is good for people’s health and good for the economy,” reports ANI.