Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has committed himself to controlling tobacco consumption in the State by signing a strongly-worded pledge. Uttar Pradesh accounts for one-fourth of the 10,00,000 new cancer cases seen every year in India, and nearly half of all cancers in the State are caused by tobacco.
On February 5, a day after the world cancer day, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has committed himself to controlling tobacco consumption in the State by signing a strongly-worded pledge. Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for one-fourth of the 10,00,000 new cancer cases seen every year in India.
“Uttar Pradesh is the largest contributor of cancer cases in India. Nearly half of all cancers in the State are caused by tobacco,” says Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, a cancer specialist at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai and an anti-tobacco crusader. “Uttar Pradesh accounts for the most number of mouth cancer in men in the country and 4-5th highest in women.”
According to Dr. Chaturvedi, gutka and paan masala (which are used as chewing tobacco) originated in Uttar Pradesh. “Chewing tobacco originated in the State and it has to first end here. The specifics to end the tobacco menace have to be worked out with different ministries,” he says.
The Tata Memorial Hospital is setting up a 500-bed cancer centre at Varanasi and the State govt is setting up a State Cancer Institute in Lucknow. Since 50% of cancer cases in Uttar Pradesh are attributable to tobacco usage, the Tata Memorial Centre doctors are trying to reduce tobacco consumption to address the source of the problem. Getting the Chief Minister to sign the pledge is an important step in that direction.
“During my discussion with him, I found him much more committed to tobacco control. He had no preconceived notions about tobacco control such as how tobacco control would cause hardship to farmers,” Dr. Chaturvedi says. “We need more Chief Ministers like him for taking such bold steps to save future generation from health disaster.”
The pledge reads: “The high consumption of tobacco products in India is very alarming. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2017, nearly 28% of adults in India use tobacco products in some or the other form. And one-third of these will die early due to tobacco related diseases.
“Reduction in tobacco use will decrease deaths, prevent diseases and improve public health. I pledge my support as a concerned citizen and as a representative of the People to help curb this growing menace with all my strength and conviction. I will raise my voice for this issue and support all initiatives to rid India of this menace and help save millions of lives in India.”