By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, March 25: Hook to hookah or hookah pen! A global adult tobacco survey has revealed nine per cent rise in tobacco use in Assam in the past six years.
In Assam tobacco is seen to have been used even by school children. The survey has revealed that 1.05 crore people above 15 years of age, computed to be 48.2 per cent of the total population of the State, consume tobacco in Assam. In yet another shocking revelation, the survey has said that tobacco consumption has claimed 34,400 lives in the past six years in Assam.
This, according to the survey, is despite giving 85 per cent pictorial warnings in tobacco packaging, besides making ban on selling tobacco in educatiol institutions, hospitals, offices and other public places glaringly visible.
Talking to this reporter, a shopkeeper doing business in Guwahati said: “It’s very difficult to make adult smokers stop smoking. Half the battle will be won if children like school students are can be made aware of the ill effects of smoking. However, what’s seen in Guwahati is that a section of school students are inclined to some branded and flavoured cigarettes. Once a child can be made not to be tempted to this flavour, he/she can abstain from smoking all throughout. If a child is tempted to the flavour, it is very difficult to make him/her give it up.”
Talking to this reporter, an oncologist said: “Tobacco-related diseases are seen with smokers as early as 13-15 years of age. If a child starts smoking tobacco at an early, he/she will have to suffer from tobacco-related diseases from 30 years of age. As such awareness against tobacco consumption should start in schools and parents should know what their children are doing. Workshops should be held at schools to let students know the ill effects of tobacco consumption. Companies are there to make profit through tobacco business, but the consumers should know what to consume and what not to.”