Strong social movement needed to tackle the menace of tobacco

New Delhi:  Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said that tobacco consumption is a menace and a strong social movement is needed to address and tackle its growing use in India.

Addressing the commemorative function to mark the ‘World No Tobacco Day’, here, the Health Minister said: “We need to convince tobacco users of the grave ill effects of its consumption.”

He  further stated that children can become the strongest messengers of positive health including giving up Tobacco use. It is children, he stated, who can convince, motivate and educate the elders to give up the use of tobacco and tobacco products.

The Health Minister said that for him every day is an anti-tobacco day, where he tries to convince people about the effect its use has on their health.
He also released highlights of a report on the “Economic Burden of Tobacco Related Diseases in India” and unveiled a print advertisement featuring Rahul Dravid, India’s Brand Ambassador for Tobacco Control.

The report on “Economic Burden of Tobacco Related Diseases in India”, supported by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India and the WHO Country Office for India, was developed by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

The report estimates direct and indirect costs from all diseases caused due to tobacco use and four specific diseases namely, respiratory diseases, tuberculosis, cardiovascular diseases and cancers.

The report also highlights that tobacco use and the associated costs are creating an enormous burden for the nation.

The total economic costs attributable to tobacco use from all diseases in India in the year 2011 amounted to a staggering Rs. 1,04,500 crores. Looking through GDP lens this is 1.16 percent of GDP and 12 percent more than the combined state and central government expenditure on health care in 2011.

According to the report, massive direct medical costs of tobacco attributable diseases amount to Rs.16,800 crore and associated indirect morbidity cost of Rs. 14,700 crore. The cost from premature mortality is Rs. 73,000 crores, indicating a substantial productive loss to the nation, the report states.

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