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State ranks highest in child tobacco consumption
Correspondent KOHIMA, MAY 27 (NPN):
Published on 28 May. 2009 12:49 AM IST
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Nagaland with a total of 62.8% of the total population of children consuming tobacco, has been ranked highest in the country. The state is also ranked the second highest state for tobacco use in North Eastern states in India with 28% of female tobacco users and 68% male tobacco users. Mizoram stands as the highest tobacco consumer in NE region and Assam, the lowest. During a state level advocacy workshop on Tobacco Control Laws at Zonal Council Hall, Kohima on Wednesday, minister for health and family welfare, Kuzholuzo Nienu disclosed that tobacco consumption in Nagaland stood at 48% as against the national average of 40%. Male tobacco users stood at 68% against the national average of 57%, while female tobacco users stood at about 28% as against the national average figure of 10.8%. The rate of school going smokers in Nagaland is reportedly about 37% while the overall school children tobacco users is about 41%. North East also ranked as one of the highest consumers of ‘Beedi’ in the country. Distressed over the high rate of tobacco consumption in the state, Nienu called upon all citizens to extend their hand in controlling tobacco and making the state a healthier place. Pointing out that tobacco affects everyone irrespective of users or non-users and asserted that collective effort could implement the goal. He urged the people to realize that tobacco was one of the leading preventable causes of death in the world. He also pointed out that India has the highest number of oral cancer in the world with 95% tobacco related cases out of 40% of cancer cases in the country. He said regardless of how firm the Act or Rule was on various prohibitions; its utility would depend on how effectively the Acts were implemented. He said everyone could play a positive role in spreading awareness on the ill effects of tobacco and the need for implementation of Tobacco Control Programme at the grass root level. Additional chief secretary and commissioner, school education, Banuo Z. Jamir said that Nagaland was ranked the highest in the country for children consumers in tobacco, with a total of 62.8%. She said that the level of awareness was low, especially in the lower segment and talked on the need to generate publicity on the dangers and effects of tobacco. She also suggested that case studies be carried out in the state so that awareness programmes might be relevant to the local people. She assured the support of the education department in the awareness drive. Topics on National Tobacco Control programme, Tobacco Control Laws, Burden of Tobacco, Scaling of Cessation Facilities, Role of different agencies for tobacco control etc were discussed by resource persons which included Arzoo Dutta, SSC Assam from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; Dr. Manu Mathur, Public Health Foundation of India; Dr. Poonam Khattar, National Institute of Health and Family Welfare; Massod Alan, jr consultant NTCP Assam, Dr. Viketuolie Pienyü Psychiatrist, Mental Hospital Kohima, and other nodal officers, NTCP, Nagaland. The advocacy workshop was organized by the Department of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with World Health Organization and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

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