GUWAHATI: At a time the Northeast is battling against cancer, the cigarette smokers in the region are spending more than their national counterparts for the sake of smoking.
Data available with various cancer care organizations, including B. Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), a cigarette smoker in the North East spends nearly Rs 1500 per month for smoking, an amount more than the national average of expenditures incurred by smokers in other parts of the country.
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 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 Gauhati Medical College & Hospital said.
Dr Amal Chandra Kataki, director of B. Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) while expressing serious concern over the development said chewing betel nuts, tobacco and smoking cigarette are prime reasons behind alarming rise in cancer cases in the North Eastern region. “If the habit of consuming smoking and non smoking tobacco is not curbed, the incidents of cancer will rise further in NE,” he said, adding that all kinds of activities that encourage consuming tobacco must be banned immediately.