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Exposed to passive smoking, infants develop infections

KANPUR: Tobacco is the second biggest cause of death globally after hypertension, reveals a research by the World Health Organisation(WHO). “Children exposed to second-hand or passive tobacco smoke can develop a range of infectious illnesses, like meningococcal disease, and not just respiratory problems.

“Second-hand smoke or passive smoking is the case when a family member smokes in front of children at home or at public places,” said Dr AK Nigam, nodal officer, Tobacco Control Cell. Risk of severe morbidity from both respiratory and other infections increased in all infants exposed to second-hand smoke. Such indirect exposure may also affect the immune system of infants and kids, he says.

Tobacco is one of the primary causes of oral cancer, which constitutes 30 to 50% of all cancers in India. The World Health Organisation (WHO) observes May 31 every year as the World No Tobacco Day. On this day, the hazards of tobacco abuse are highlighted along with the health gains which tobacco cessation guarantees.

Talking on the poor level of tobacco-related awareness in the city, Dr RP Yadav, chief medical officer of the district, informed that many youngsters in both cities and rural areas were getting addicted to chewing paan, gutkha and smoking cigarettes, which caused an adverse effect on their health in the long run. “In children, passive smoking increases the risk of pneumonia,bronchitis, reduces lung growth as well as both causes and worsens asthma,” said Dr RP Yadav.

The deadly nicotine in tobacco increases the release of dopamine which works towards good mood and peace of mind. The heart, brain and the central nervous system become more active when secretion of dopamine increases. “Withdrawal symptoms include headache, anger and restlessness. In later stages, a tobacco consumer can suffer from arthritis, asthma, heart attack, hypertension, stroke and mouth, throat and lung cancer,” added Dr Yadav.

Elaborating on the rules and regulation under Cigarettes And Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (OTPA), Dr GK Mishra, eye surgeon at UHM Hospital, informed that the National Tobacco Control Programme and the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 proscribed sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of an educational institution. But one does not need a newspaper report to know that the law is more violated than implemented.

“Selling tobacco and its related products is even banned at recreational spots and railway stations, but no one is bothered to follow the rule. The violation of these rules can invite a fine of Rs 200 to Rs 2,000,” added Dr Mishra. He further informed that to check the sale of tobacco products near school premises, a seminar would be organised at UHM on No Tobacco Day along with the school authorities in the presence of the district inspector of schools (DIOS) and the basic education officer (Basic Shiksha Adhikari or BSA). The members and officials of the Tobacco Control Cell will urge the school authorities to check this illegal practice near school premises as well.

Other events planned for the day are special symposium for cancer patients at JK Cancer Hospital from 8 to 9 am along with ‘swasthya satsang’. Doctors’ session on tips to quit tobacco consumption at JK Cancer Hospital between 9 am to 1 pm, seminar at UHM Hospital in collaboration with the district health authorities and the Red Cross Society, making human chain outside UHM hospital in afternoon.

World No-Tobacco Day primarily focuses on encouraging users to refrain from tobacco consumption and it’s related for a period of at least 24 hours. On this day, the attempt is to draw public and government attention on the need to take effective measures to prevent tobacco consumption which contaminates the air we live in. So, let us strive to live in a pollution-free environment.

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Posted by on May 31 2012. Filed under Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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