Thiruvanthapuram, April 7: Amid wide-spread shock and anguish over misinformed statements on tobacco’s association with cancer, Kerala’s medical community has said that tobacco consumption indeed causes cancer. Paul Sebastian, well-known surgical oncologist and director of Regiol Cancer Centre here, said no less than the World Health Organisation has categorically said that tobacco causes cancer. He pointedly referered to the cohort study in Karugappally taluk in Alappuzha district started in the late 1980s to study the potential health effects of high background radiation. The study that covered 65,829 men aged 30-84 showed an elevated lung cancer incidence among bidi smokers, strengthening the association of lung cancer risk with bidi smoking.
“Karugappally is known for high background radiation from thorium-containing mozite sand and the study set out to explore the lung and other cancer risks increased by exposure to high-level tural radiation, and the synergistic effect between radiation and other factors, including bidi smoking. However, our cohort study showed that the relatively high lung cancer incidence in this area is unlikely to be due to high-level tural radiation,” Sebastian added. Founder director of Regiol Cancer Centre, M. Krishn ir said the prime minister’s assurance that the government will go ahead with 85 per cent pictorial warnings on packets of cigarettes is reassuring. (IANS)