Kashmir annually spends 600 cr on tobacco products

Kashmir annually spends 600 cr on tobacco products

Srinagar tops list with 122 cr, Anantnag 2nd with 103 cr, Baramulla 3rd with 98 cr

Srinagar, Sep 14: Kashmir is spending a whopping Rs 600 crore on the purchase of tobacco products annually with Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla districts topping the numbers.

These figures were revealed during a State level Consultation on Health Hazards of Tobacco organized by Directorate of Health Services Kashmir at Banquet Hall, Srinagar.

An official at the DHSK said in a year people from nine districts of Kashmir spend nearly 600 crore on tobacco products which is draining the economy and hitting families and communities in the Valley.

Srinagar spends Rs 122 crore followed by Anantnag with Rs 103 crore, Baramulla Rs 98 crore, Kupwara Rs 84 crore, Pulwama Rs 55 crore, Kulgam Rs 41 crore, Bandipora Rs 37 crore, Ganderbal Rs 29 crore, and Shopian Rs 26 crore. However, the figures for Budgam district are not available.

These are the figures based on a survey conducted earlier by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India (GoI) to assess the tobacco use in the valley.

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The workshop was jointly inaugurated by Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Mushtaq Ahmed Rather and Mission Director National Health Mission (NHM) J&K, Dr Yaseen Choudhary.
Dr Mushtaq appealed to youth to get rid of the menace and help in fighting the same to save the people.

“We need to have a comprehensive strategy so that we can fight the tobacco menace in society. As we all know, tobacco is a known health hazard and is responsible for many diseases prevalent in society, particularly various cancers, cardiac diseases and many more,” he said.
Dr Mushtaq said the tobacco usage not only affects health adversely but drains families and communities economically as well.

“In order to save the society from the adverse effects of smoking and tobacco we need to put heads together to frame a strategy which will go a long way in curbing this menace from the society,” he said.

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The DHSK said it needs a multi-pronged strategy where we need to utilize services of different individuals, organizations and departments to coordinate and arrive at a comprehensive policy to defeat this grave issue which is going to have serious consequences if we fail to control it.
The workshop focused on the hazards effects of tobacco on society and stressed on ways and means to fight this menace.

Director NHM, Dr Yaseen Choudhary said spending 600 crore in a year is a staggering figure.
“We need to work hard. It is draining our economy. We need to come up with strategies we need to work to wipe out this menace to save the people,” he said.

On the occasion Dr M Saleem Khan, HOD Community Medicine GMC Srinagar gave a presentation on the health hazards of tobacco and gave an overview of the current situation of tobacco usage in Jammu and Kashmir.

Jammu Kashmir is among the states with a huge number of tobacco consumers due to poor enforcement of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA).

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According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) of 2016-17, in J&K, there are 23.7 percent tobacco users and 20.8 percent smoke while 4.3 percent consume smokeless tobacco.

As per the Health officials, although the government has imposed a blanket ban on e-cigarettes and loose cigarettes, the sale of loose cigarettes continues rampantly.

According to officials, around 75 percent of cigarette sales in India were through loose cigarettes and every gazetted officer was authorized to challan the person found smoking at public places.

Dr Mohammad Naseer, program coordinator of Union of Tobacco and Lung Diseases, an NGO working in collaboration with the NTCP, said tobacco sale was a big problem in J&K saying it had caused a rise in lung cancer.

“Illegal and loose cigarettes are being sold rampantly,” he said. “There should be monitoring to prevent people from second-hand smoking.”
The Health department had launched a “yellow line campaign” within a radius of 100 meters from any educational institution to ban the sale of tobacco products.

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