Young people should refrain from tobacco use

“Majority of the tobacco use begins before the age of 18 years. That is why young people should be well informed about life-threatening ailments attributed to tobacco use, and refrain from tobacco use” said Professor (Dr) Rama Kant, Head of the Department of Surgery, CSM Medical University (erstwhile King George’s Medical College – KGMC). Prof Rama Kant is the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General’s International Awardee (2005) and was recently conferred upon the Amrit Lal Nagar Samman 2010. Read more

Prof Rama Kant was addressing the students of Formative Day College, Lakshmanpuri, Faizabad Road, Lucknow. The Principal of Formative Day College, Ms Archana Saxena, said “young people must stay away from tobacco use – it is in their long-term interest.” She ensures tobacco-free environment in her campus, informed Ms Saxena.

“Controlling the epidemic of tobacco among young people is an important part of any comprehensive tobacco control strategy” said Prof Rama Kant.

“Tobacco kills more than 10 lakh people in India every year. Young people should not fall in the trap of common misconceptions about tobacco use, like those wrongly associating tobacco use to glamour and lifestyle – and realize the deadly face of tobacco addiction – which is linked to life-threatening diseases and disabilities” said Prof Rama Kant.

“About half of all tobacco-related deaths occur at ages 35-69 years, making tobacco the most important cause of premature death in developed countries. Many of those who die from smoking were not particularly heavy smokers, but most of them did start smoking in their teenage years. Smokers in their thirties and forties have five times as many heart attacks as non-smokers. Heart attacks and tobacco related cancers are the main ways in which tobacco use kills young tobacco users. In industrialized countries, tobacco is responsible for 75-80% of all heart attack deaths in young smokers under the age of 50” said Prof Rama Kant, who was also awarded by the National Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India in 1997 for his Hindi book on tobacco hazards “Rakh Ke Dher Par”.

 “Especially troubling is the rising prevalence of tobacco use among girls. The new WHO report, Women and health: today's evidence, tomorrow's agenda, points to evidence that tobacco advertising increasingly targets girls. Data from 151 countries show that about 7% of adolescent girls smoke cigarettes as opposed to 12% of adolescent boys. In some countries, almost as many girls smoke as boys” shared Prof Rama Kant from latest WHO data on women and tobacco.

“Tobacco use could kill one billion people during this century. Recognizing the importance of reducing tobacco use among women, and acting upon that recognition, would save many lives” said Prof Rama Kant.

A documentary film (Hindi version), “A Heavy Price” which has personal testimonies from survivors of tobacco-related cancers and other health hazards, was also screened for students.