Meghalaya’s East Khasi Hills leads in tobacco-related cancer

Shillong, May 30 (FN Agency) Meghalaya’s East Khasi Hills district has the highest relative proportion of cancer associated with use of tobacco in the country with 70.4 percent and 46.5 percent of males and females respectively, the National Health Mission (NHM), Meghalaya mentioned in a statement issued on the eve of ‘World No Tobacco Day’. “In Meghalaya, 53.7 percent of men, 9.5 percent of women and 31.6 percent of all adults currently smoke tobacco,” the report said, adding that 11.6 percent of men, 29.1 percent of women and 20.3 percent of all adults currently consume smokeless tobacco.

While 59.8 percent of men, 34.2 percent of women and 47.0 percent of all adults either smoke tobacco and/or use smokeless tobacco,” the report read. “The data signifies a very alarming sign of the prevalence of tobacco consumption and the menace through it if the users are not concerned enough to take a firm decision to just stop using tobacco. Therefore, calling every individual user to reaffirm their commitment to quit the use of tobacco in any form. Quitting can be challenging, especially for the ones who are captivated with the addiction to tobacco. However, if our commitment is strong, nothing can stop us because there are still a lot of reasons to quit,” the NHM exhorted.

Every year, May 31 is observed as the World No Tobacco Day with the motive to instill and strengthen the fight against the production and use of tobacco in any form and to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. WHO has recently launched a year-long global campaign for World No Tobacco Day 2021 with the theme “Commit to Quit”, that aims to support people in their attempts to give up tobacco through various initiatives and digital solutions. “The COVID-19 pandemic has led tobacco users wanting to quit.

However, quitting tobacco is challenging, especially with the added social and economic stresses brought about by the pandemic,” the NHM report under the National Tobacco Control Programme noted. “There are immediate and long-term health benefits to quitting tobacco. After just 20 minutes of quitting smoking, the heart rate drops. Within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal. Within 2–12 weeks, the circulation improves and lung function increases. Within 1–9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Within 5–15 years, the risk of getting a stroke is reduced to that of a non-smoker. Within 10 years, the lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker. Within 15 years, the risk of heart disease is that of a non-smoker,” the NHM said.