World no tobacco day: Smoking gateway of drug abuse in Kashmir

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Banning sale of tobacco products only way to do away with the menace: Dr Nisar Ul Hassan; Cigarette contains 4 thousand chemicals including 200 hazardous chemicals, says Dr Salim Khan

Srinagar, May 31: There should be an absolute ban on sale of all tobacco products to do away with menace and tobacco causes cancer and cases of cancer are on rise in Kashmir, experts advocated Tuesday.

Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan, who is also the President of Doctors Association of Kashmir told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), that banning of tobacco products is only way to do away with this menace and if you will keep it available everywhere more people will use it instead of leaving it.

He said that on hand we are crying that tobacco kills, it causes cancer which is leading cause of death in Kashmir besides that around 40 thousand cases of cancer have been reported in J&K and lung cancer is most prevalent and 90 percent of lung cancer are because of smoking but on the other we have tobacco products available at doorstep, then how it is possible to get rid of this menace.

“The main reasons behind that this menace is increase is availability, huge stress in people who want to manage this unpleasant feeling by restoring to smoking and it is socially acceptable as mostly  smoking isn’t treated as a bad thing,” he said. “Smoking is gateway of drug abuse as almost drug abusers start from smoking and then he is lured for drugs easily, he said, adding that 20.8 percent people in J&K are using tobacco in J&K, which is according to the global tobacco survey.”

Many doctors who spoke to KNO on condition of anonymity, said that there is need of blanket ban on sale and manufacturer of tobacco products in J&K as it kills people.

“Government shouldn’t only think of revenue but they must take cognizance of the issue that how many people are dying here because of smoking,” the doctors said.

Meanwhile, Dr Mohammad Salim Khan, Head of Department community Medicine at GMC Srinagar told KNO that around 25 percent school going adolescents in Kashmir are smokers and all drug addicts start from cigarette smoking.

He said that 50 percent families get affected by second hand smoking that is smoke that comes from the burning of a tobacco product and smoke that is exhaled by smokers and more importantly third hand smoking is main concern which means smoking that is residual nicotine and other chemicals left on indoor surfaces by tobacco smoke. “People are exposed to these chemicals by touching contaminated surfaces or breathing in the off-gassing from these surfaces,” he said, adding that “Cigarette contains around 4,000 chemicals which includes 200 are hazardous and around 60 cause cancers and smoking is known for causing multi organ cancers.”

He said that parents and teachers have to play role in this regard to keep children away from smoking. “Taking of e-cigarettes is more hazardous and unregulated sale of imported cigarettes is there without labelling and branding with no hazardous symbols and signs,” he said. “Multi pronged strategy is required to reduce cigarette consumption and its ill effects,” he said—(KNO)