Tobacco and Two-Sides of the Coin! | Dr. Pradip Kendre | Cancer Specialist | Mumbai Oncocare Centre
Tobacco, a controversial subject matter that has remained in the discussion for many years for no conclusion. The conflict is between the commercial and health related aspects of it. A news that was published in Economic Times about a year ago quoted that tobacco industry contributes Rs. 11,79,498 crores to Indian economy annually. It also stated that over 4.5 crore Indians earn their living out of the jobs offered by this industry.
The flip side of the coin is that over 27% of total incidences of cancers in India are caused by Tobacco use in various forms, as quoted by ICMR in their recent report published in the year 2020. The cases of Lung cancer have consistently remained at peak for over a decade in a city that never sleeps. We can sarcastically call it a 'Çity that Struggles to Breath'. Even today, Mumbai carries the highest incidences of Lung and Oral cancers, no wonder; tobacco is a prime culprit. India has the highest burden of Oral cancers even today because of the rampant consumption of Tobacco and related products.
It therefore becomes a matter of monumental polarization that has enough reasons for users and non-users of tobacco to justify their own stand. One may stand with the economic benefit and the other may stand against the health hazards of tobacco, however, as a cancer specialist, I have another thoughtful dimension for consideration.
It has been the observation of the oncology fraternity that the majority of oral cancer patients belong to middle or lower economic strata. Despite best and the most advanced treatments being available these days, the catastrophic cost of treatment will always remain a significant barrier for them to afford it fully or partially.
Many patients are left with only 2 options, that is either to compromise their life to 'No Treatment'; or reach out to government or charitable organizations for the financial assistance / relief for treatment. It leads us to an obvious conclusion that the collective economic burden that falls on the government funds, on the Indian economy and healthcare system and eventually on the pockets of the taxpayers and wishful donors is imposed by tobacco. Quitting of Tobacco alone can reduce such an economic burden on the system a great deal.
We can choose to be selfish and deliberate if we can afford the physical, financial and mental hazards of tobacco and decide our priorities.
Don't forget, Tobacco is a Poison that spoils generations and kills!
Dr. Pradip Kendre
- Consultant Cancer Specialist
- Mumbai Oncocare Centre, Borivali and Malad
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