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Nagaland second highest tobacco user in India
Correspondent
 DIMAPUR, March 15 – With a population of about 20 lakh, Nagaland is considered the second highest tobacco consuming State with 57 per cent of the populace into the tobacco habit.

The statistics is more worrisome as 37 per cent of students are into smoking habit while 41 per cent school children are users of smokeless tobacco.

This was revealed by Kohima District Tobacco Control Cell (KDTCC), of Department of Family Health and Welfare, Psychologist Asenla Jamir during a sensitisation programme for managers of hotels and restaurants on hazards and burdens of tobacco which was organised by the Cell recently.

Dwelling on hazards of tobacco, Asenla said there are one billion smokers in the world of which 20 per cent are women. India is the third largest tobacco producer and second largest consumer in the world, she said, adding that one million people in the country die every year due to tobacco use.

India has the largest number of oral cancer cases in the world while 40 per cent of all cancers in India are due to tobacco, Jamir said adding that 2,200 Indians die every day due to tobacco use.

She said Mizoram is the highest user of tobacco in India with a record of 67 per cent of its population using tobacco products while Nagaland stands second with 57 per cent. Goa is at the lowest end of the scale at barely nine per cent.

Jamir said use of tobacco can cause short and long term effects. Short term effects are increased heart rate and blood pressure, smelly hair, bad breath, stained teeth, damage to gum tissue, tooth decay, reduced sense of smell and taste, troubled breathing, increased sensitivity to cold and heat while long term effects are cancers (oral, lung, stomach, oesophagus, bladder, liver, breast, head and neck, kidney), larynx (ulcers in the mouth). It can also affect the respiratory system (chronic cough, asthma), cardio-vascular system (hypertension), heart disease, cataract, sexual organs (impotence in men and difficulty in bearing children among women).

Additional Director Health & Family Welfare department Dr N Savino emphasised on effective implementation of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003 in the State and called for compliance with the Rules and Act of COTPA.

He asked the gathering to display “No Smoking Area” signboard in their respective establishments to ensure that nobody smokes in hotels and restaurants. It is mandatory to display “No Smoking Area” signboard, otherwise one can be penalised, he said.

Dr Savino said no astray, matches, lighter or other things designed to facilitate smoking should be provided in public places. He warned that anyone found violating the rules are liable for punishment under COTPA 2003.

He also touched on rules about prohibition on sale of cigarette or other tobacco products to a person below the age of 18 years and in an area within a radius of 100 yards of any educational institution.

Dr Arenla Walling, Nodal officer, Kohima District Tobacco Control Cell said the tobacco control cell has so far covered 45 schools in the district by sensitising school teachers on COTPA and harmful effects of tobacco.

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