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Tobacco claims over 1 mn Indian lives annually

Posted on Feb 11 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Feb 11 : Tobacco products are the number one cause of cancer in India and the use of chewed tobacco products is directly linked to oral cancer, a report released Tuesday said. The World Lung Foundation report said more than one million Indians die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases each year.

"Estimates from patients at our oral cancer ward indicate that 80 to 90 percent of preventable cancers of the neck, head and throat are tobacco related. The burden of oral cancers caused by chewing tobacco, as well as lung and other cancers caused by smoking tobacco in 'bidis' and cigarettes, is enormous," said Pankaj Chaturvedi, cancer specialist at Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai.

"Public health experts have been sounding the alarm on the astonishing increase in cancers caused by lifestyle factors, particularly tobacco use. Governments must urgently implement strong preventive policies like increased taxation and restrictions to access of unhealthy products; enforcement of bans on advertising and promotion of unhealthy products," said Nandita Murukutla, country director, World Lung Foundation.

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