May 31 is observed as World No Tobacco Day every year worldwide to create awareness about negative impact on health due to tobacco use. As one of the leading superspeciality hospital in the state of Assam, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital Guwahati, in association with Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Howrah and Deepsikha Foundation, an organization working exclusively for the care of cancer patients, initiated an anti-tobacco awareness campaign. Under the campaign, they arranged a series of Street Plays to educate and caution people on the ill-effects of tobacco consumption that causes cancer and other diseases.
The street plays were performed at different locations across the city such as, Adabari Bus Stand, Fancy Bazar, Paltan Bazar, Ganeshguri, Six Mile, and Panbazar. The plays depicted the importance of good health and how consumption of tobacco in any form (chewing or smoking) can have adverse affects on health in the long run. The goal was to leave a very strong message in the minds of the people, which would alert and discourage them to consume tobacco and divert their craving to other positive aspects. Informative pamphlets and flyers on cancer awareness were also distributed to keep the population well-informed.
With the growing menace of tobacco consumption in Assam and in the North East it has been observed that tobacco related oral cancer is very common which may be due to widespread habit of chewing tobacco. According to Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery Vol. 58, No. 1, January-March 2006, a retrospective study on prevalence of cancer in various head and neck regions like throat, oral cavity, oesophagus and nasal cavity conducted from 1993 to 2004 states that in North-eastern India, the prevalence is significantly high at 54.48%, affecting males more than females in the age group of 40-69 years. Of the total body cancer, oropharynx and oral cavity cancer constituted a major percentage.
“The idea is to create awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco. Lung Cancer, heart strokes/ attacks, asthma, pre-mature or low birth-weight babies, diabetes, blindness, cataract, cancers in mouth, throat, bladder, etc. are chronic diseases that are abetted by tobacco use”, said Dr. Apurva Garg, Consultant Head & Neck Onco surgeon, Narayana Multispecialty Hospital, Howrah. He further added, “We are glad to be taking this initiative and hope to stimulate a tobacco-free healthy lifestyle amongst people.”
Commenting on this initiative, Mr. Abid Tauqeer, Facility Director, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Guwahati said, “It’s important to start effective program against tobacco usage in school and college level so that we can identify them at an early stage before they become addictive as it is very difficult to quit at a later stage. Government should compulsorily include a chapter on harmful effects of tobacco in the school curriculum so that students don’t take up this habit on growing up.”
Source: Rangman Das