Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory is the 6th State/UT in the country to have high prevalence of tobacco use as over 20 percent of the population is indulging in tobacco consumption, officials said.
Talking to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) Dr Mir Mushtaq, State Nodal Officer (Kashmir Division), National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP), said that the prevalence of smoking tobacco is 20.8%, which is 6th highest in the country after Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
The prevalence of smokeless tobacco is lowest in the country at 4.3% after Himachal Pradesh, he said.
As per the National Health Survey figures, the prevalence of tobacco in Kashmir includes Kupwara 56%, Shopian 52%, Anantnag and Bandipora 49% each, Budgam 48 %, Pulwama 44%, Ganderbal 42%, Baramulla and Kulgam 41% each and Srinagar 38%.
Pertinently, as per GATS 2 Data, 35.2% men & 5.1% women & 20.8% of all adults smoke tobacco in J&K.
As per the data, 6.8% men & 1.5% women and 4.3% of all adults currently use smokeless tobacco, 39.7% men & 6.2 % women & 23.7% of all adults either smoke tobacco or use smokeless Tobacco.
Dr Mir Mushtaq said that the government has taken a slew of measures to decrease the percentage of tobacco consumption as authorities have produced over 20,000 challans and collected over Rs 15 lakh from violators for smoking in public places in Kashmir division in last four years
He said that around 20,002 challans were produced and Rs 15,21,552 were collected from violators in the valley in the last four years.
He said that around 1200 persons have quitted smoking in Kashmir in the last four years while thousands received counselling and pharmacotherapy sessions.
“Awareness programmes are being conducted to inform people about ill effects of tobacco and if we are able to make people conscious there won’t need to be enforcement,” he added.
He said that various awareness programmes have already been started to educate people about the hazards of tobacco chewing and smoking, besides that the officials have been directed to conduct regular enforcement drives for implementation of COTPA-2003.
Notably, the government of Jammu and Kashmir has also imposed a complete ban on the sale of loose cigarettes, loose beedis and loose tobacco while all educational institutions and tourist destinations were declared as tobacco free zones.
Pertinently, tobacco is said to be the leading cause of preventable deaths in the world. It kills approximately more than seven million globally and more than one million in India.
Notably, lung cancer has been found to be the second commonest cancer. In the past few decades, the cancer catastrophe has created havoc globally, Kashmir has witnessed rise in cases of lung and breast cancers.
As per the hospital-based data from Kashmir valley, males have higher incidence of lung cancer.
There is a direct relation between length of smoking and number of cigarettes smoked per day. Even if smokers quit smoking, there are chances of developing cancer but these chances decrease to a greater extent, officials said—(KNO)