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Northeast People Spending Rs 1500 per month for buying cigarettes, Anti-Smoke Drive at Dismay


* Smokers in NE spend more than their national counterparts


GUWAHATI, Aug 8: What can be termed as the disturbing development in the battle against cancer, a cigarette smoker in the North East spends nearly Rs 1500 per month for smoking which is more than the national average of expenditures incurred by smokers.

The development is also responsible for the highest number of cancer cases in the North East.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS 2) for India, the average monthly expenditure incurred by cigarette smokers is Rs 1,474 in Nagaland, Rs 1,242 in Arunachal Pradesh, Rs 1,192 in Meghalaya, Rs 803 in Tripura, Rs 799 in Assam, Rs 713 in Mizoram and Rs 351 in Manipur while the national average is Rs 1,192. The Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry recently released the data for North East.

Similarly, the average monthly expenditure incurred by beedi smokers is Rs 787 in Assam, Rs 331 in Arunachal Pradesh, Rs 317 in Tripura, Rs 266 in Nagaland, Rs 256 in Mizoram, Rs 181 in Meghalaya and Rs 136 in Manipur against the national average of Rs 284.

“Going by the statistics of expenditures one can assume that cigarette smokers in the State smoke one packet of cigarette every day. A single packet contains 10 cigarette sticks. If a person smokes 10 sticks on a daily average he is bound to have cancer,” an oncologist at B. Borooah Cancer Institute told this reporter.

The survey was conducted to obtain estimates of various dimensions of tobacco use to systematically monitor adult tobacco users and key tobacco control indicators and to contribute to the understanding of effectiveness of tobacco control measures. Around 1,500 samples were collected from the Northeast for the survey.

The survey has also found that the people in NE States are exposed to more passive smoking at home than other parts of the country.

While the national average of people exposed to second-hand smoke at home is 39 per cent, it is as high as 84 per cent in Mizoram. In other NE States, the percentage is much higher than the national average as well.
The survey said the percentage of people exposed to second-hand smoke at workplace in four NE States of Meghalaya (46 per cent), Mizoram (44), Manipur (43) and Assam (31) is higher than the national average (30 per cent).

The percentage of people exposed to second-hand smoke in public places in Manipur (30 per cent), Meghalaya (28) and Nagaland (23) is more or equal to the national average (23 per cent).

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