Tobacco and Cancer: Insights from the Perspective of Cancer Specialists.


Did you know, India witnesses over 1.35 million deaths every year by consumption of tobacco accounting for the death of 1 in 10 adults?

Use of tobacco and associated products is considered to be a major threat to public health. It has assumed the dimension of an epidemic resulting in enormous disability, disease and death.

Tobacco gained a royal entry into India as a barter commodity to trade Indian textiles by the Portuguese in the 17th century. In addition, the British East India Company supported the cultivation of tobacco as a cash crop for both domestic consumption and international trade.

There are many different patterns associated with tobacco usage in India, including:

  1. Smoking
  2. Chewing
  3. Applying
  4. Sucking
  5. Gargling, and so on.

Each of these patterns of consumption is governed by the geographic area, economic status, sociocultural, and religious influences.

How tobacco products cause cancer?

  1. Tobacco smoke: Smokes from cigarettes and cigars and pipes have 70 different types of chemicals, when inhaled they get into the bloodstream and developing slowly into cancer.
  2. Secondhand smoke: The people who smoke are not the only people who can get cancer from tobacco smoke. The secondhand smoke inhaled affects others close to smokers, including their partners, children, friends, coworkers, and others.
  3. Chewing tobacco: Chewing tobacco is placed between the cheek and gum, and releases nicotine as the user chews it. Although these forms are smokeless, they contain at least 28 different cancer-causing substances.

Tobacco use is the leading cause to at least 15 different types of cancers throughout the body. It not only cause lung cancer, but also other cancers such as mouth, cheek, gums, lips, esophagus, throat, kidney, pancreas, liver, bladder, cervix, colon, rectum and also cardiovascular disease and stroke.

This May is observed as World No Tobacco month, let us spread awareness about the effects of cancer due to tobacco use and encourage youngsters to quit smoking and start a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent the number of deaths that are increasing every year. Oncologists around the world suggest that people give up smoking and other habits like chewing tobacco to reduce the risk of developing tobacco related cancers. 

Tips to stop using tobacco products

The American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association have suggested the following tips to reduce or stop using tobacco and its products:

  1. Know the reason why you want to quit.
  2. Choose a suitable time to quit. 
  3. Accept support and encouragement from your friends and family.
  4. Eat a well-balanced diet, sleep well.
  5. Join a support group to quit tobacco.
  6. Discuss the quitting plan with your doctor. 

We at Mumbai Oncocare Centre urge all the tobacco users to quit tobacco consumption in any form and lead a healthy life.

Dr. Pritam Kalaskar, MD DM
Consultant Medical Oncologist,
Mumbai Oncocare, Thane
7400424333 / 022-25301090

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