Gaya: Expressing concern over the high incidence of cancer deaths in Bihar, TP Sinha, president, Cancer Awareness Society (CAS), demanded prohibitively high rate of taxation on tobacco products in the state to discourage the sale and use of tobacco.
Sinha demanded imposition of VAT at the rate of 70 % in Bihar to contain the alarmingly high incidence of cancer deaths in state. He said 274people die due to cancer each day in Bihar. Sinha was speaking at a seminar organized by Advantage Media at Bodh Gaya on Saturday evening.
Society vice president and noted surgeon Dr A A Hai said 40 % of cancer in male patients is reported in aerodigestic tract that includes mouth, throat and lungs and 95 % of the aerodigestic track cancer is the result of tobacco consumption of both smoke and non -smoke category.
CAS chief Sinha said the Supreme Court guidelines and provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 were not being effectively implemented in the state. Sensitization at different levels, creation of smoke free zone, effective ban on purchase and sale of tobacco products in the vicinity of educational institutions and other guidelines on the issue hold the key to tobacco control and resultant incidence of cancer. Sinha said cine actor Shatrughan Sinha gave up smoking before joining the campaign to control tobacco and prevent cancer.
Dr Hai said two thirds of cancer cases are preventable. He listed the causes of cancer and they include life style changes, fast food culture, obesity and lack of exercise. Less than 1 % of cancer cases can be attributed to genetic causes, he said. He said use of tobacco causes change in DNA by deforming cells and creating imbalance in the growth of cells.
Exhorting newsmen to join the campaign against tobacco to bring down the incidence of cancer, Dr Hai said a relentless campaign is required to make people aware of the harmful effects of tobacco and its role in cancerous growth. One million people die due to cancer each year in the country and about 70,000 of these cancer deaths take place in Bihar. Dispelling the impression that all tobacco consumers do not acquire cancer, Dr Hai said cancer is almost inevitable for tobacco users and the only difference is that some tobacco consumers acquire it faster while in case of others the process is slow.
Two cancer victims and the wife of one cancer patient shared their experience with mediapersons. Exhorting people to give up tobacco, Sunil Kumar Singh, a cancer patient, said use of tobacco landed him in such a trouble that his children are now unable to go to school as he cannot afford their fee and his land was grabbed by co-villagers as he was away from the village for long for cancer treatment.