Harmful Effects of Chewing Gutkha


Gutkha chewing is dangerous Gutkha can well be defined as a devil in disguise. Promoted as a mouth freshener, this betel nuts and tobacco preparation is designed to release a chemical reaction that makes it an addictive proposition. However, most consumers believe that the blended spices and seasonings do not make it as a harmful product!

But, the truth remains that gutkha; just as any other tobacco product is very addictive and injurious to health. Gutkha has been proved to be carcinogenic,

The Effects if Gutkha

  • Gutkha leads to Oral sub-mucous fibrosis (SMF), a pre-cancerous disease that is a first step to cancer. This has increased 20 to 30 times across the country. It also leads to throat, esophageal cancers.

  • Oral cancers, predominantly squamous cell carcinomas of the lip, mouth, tongue, and pharynx

  • Loss of appetite

  • Promote unusual sleep patterns

  • Loss of concentration

  • One study found that pregnant women in India who used gutka had a threefold increased risk of having a low birth weight infant.

The extensive marketing of gutkha has led to a widespread addiction amongst school children.
Rajanigandha gutkha brand
According to a survey conducted in 2008, 5 million children under the age of 15 years are addicted to gutkha.

Another survey conducted in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh highlighted that the precursor of mouth cancers was shown in 16 percent of the children.

The number can get more shocking. The only way to stop the consumption is by educating the masses. Also, one must understand that it needs equal persuasion, guidance and support to help someone quit this habit. It’s not only the numbers that is disturbing, but also the fact that most gutkha users are unaware of the fact it is an addictive and harmful habit.

The list of shocking details doesn’t stop here. So far, ghutka is largely ignored, and there is no regulated body in India that works against the consumption of this deadly mouth freshener. So, till the time we have proper regulations in place, let’s as individuals try and help eradicate this habit. Let us use the power we so proudly hold, education!

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Chaturvedi'S Tobacco Adblaster

Gutkha vendors mushroom

Smoking Leads to Stress, not Relief


Break the habit of smoking when you stressed If there is one symptom that is common among most smokers, then it has to be stress. Most chain smokers and regular smokers or even those who have just taken up this deadly habit believe that smoking helps relieve stress. And, it is this feeling of alleviation or calmness is what leads to a daily habit of smoking. But, researchers have a different story to tell.

Various studies and research have shown that it is in fact the smoking that causes stress. It is believed that smokers may seek temporary relief through smoking, but what they lack is true happiness. This lack of happiness is what prompts them to seek relief in smoking. This pattern can be well-defined by the term, vicious cycle.

Priyanka Kaul, a 35-year old, housewife said, "I was trying to give up on this habit for a really long time. But, I was always afraid that I might lose myself once I give up on smoking. The dependency was just too much. However, after years of debate, I finally managed to give up smoking. Today, to my surprise, I feel that I am much calmer and in control of myself." She added, "It’s amazing to learn that I don’t need a cigarette to help me control my emotions or fight stress. I am happy to know that I am no longer dependant on anything to find happiness."

This is just one example. It’s really up to you or the smoker to realise what makes them happy and what has drawn them to this habit, as it's proved that tobacco dependency is associated to high levels of stress. So, what would you rather have a vicious cycle of smoke taking control of your life or a life that is controlled by nobody else but yourself?

How to Curb Nicotine Use Among Students?


College students smoking cigarettes The Indian government’s ban on smoking in public places has received mixed reviews from various sets of people. For instance, office executives who usually catch up over a cigarette or use smoke as a way of releasing stress, raised eyebrows over the decision.

Though, some offices are rather strict, some find their way out. However, for college and school students the written ban really means nothing but a piece of paper. In fact, smoking amongst college students has not been affected by the ban.

Most students either have turned a deaf ear towards the ban, or pretend that they have never heard of it. Thus, the bottom line is that students continue to smoke blatantly. Though, educational institutions have been strict with their on-campus smoking rules, there is nothing stopping the students.

Says Professor Vandana Joshi from a reputed Mumbai College, "We can stop them from smoking on campus, but we really can’t follow them everywhere. What we really need is a sound guidance cell that helps students stop this habit on their will, rather than being forced to give up." She adds, "The more students are pressurised against smoking, the more they will continue smoking. Thus, as teachers we must in our own way guide and counsel them against smoking."

It’s not just colleges, smoking is equally rampant amongst school students. Anbumani Ramadoss, the Union minister for health and family welfare, pointed out in one of his speeches that 13 per cent of children in the age group of 13-16 years consume tobacco.

And, to address this concern, the health ministry has allocated Rs 22 lakhs for each district to create awareness about the adverse effects of tobacco in the country, targeting educational institutions. But, is this enough? Or do we need to take more drastic steps against the killer habit?

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Medics are as likely to be smokers as other students

Protect your Unborn Child from Smoke


Smoking during pregnancy harmful for the child Its a well-documented fact that smoking during pregnancy can affect you and your child, especially your child. In fact, when it comes to your unborn child, go by what your mother always said, "Don’t just hear, listen!"

When it comes to pregnancy one has to follow every word of caution. To give you some facts, smoking increases the levels of carbon monoxide and nicotine in the mother’s bloodstream during pregnancy. This limits the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the baby. Nicotine blocks oxygen supply by narrowing blood vessels throughout your body, including the ones in the umbilical cord. So the baby gets very little oxygen to breathe. Naturally, the baby’s growth is at risk.

Other dangers include birth of a premature and underweight baby. This is not all. Due to poor supply of nutrients and oxygen, the chances of miscarriage and foetal brain damage are also high.

Also, during growing up stages, the child could face problems such as learning disability, chronic health issues such as asthma, behavioral problems, and relatively low IQs. A latest research also pointed out that children of smoking mothers are at a risk of developing cancer in their childhood. Pregnant mother smoking harms baby

Now, these points are just an outline of what could happen when the baby and the smoke come in close proximity. There are many other issues, and some are more dangerous. But, you can stop all this by, giving up smoking and save your unborn child.

Yes, it may not be an easy task. But, when the craving for just one cigarette arises, think about the baby. You could also:

  • Ask your family and friends to help you quit

  • Consult your doctor and get tips on how to quit effectively

  • Try meditation and relaxation

  • Keep reminding yourself that it’s all for your baby

  • Don’t give up too soon. Once again, go by the old adage, Keep trying until you succeed!

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Pregnancy and Smoking

Risks remain for pregnant quitters

One Million Deaths by Tobacco in India!


By 2010, nearly 1 million people are going to die from smoking every year in India. That is the equivalent of 2,740 people every day or 114 people every hour or about 1.9 Indians will die every minute from smoking. Nearly 50% of these are going to be illiterate people, watch this video which shows the tobacco epidemic facing the country today.

Say No to Smoking


Say No to Smoking The phrase, 'Quitting is for Losers,' works as a complete antithesis in case of a smoker. In fact, if you were a chain smoker, and have managed to completely quit smoking, then people tend to look at you with pride. You become an example, a hero for many... for people you know and sometimes for people you don’t.

You are that one friend, colleague, cousin and so on, to some person in the crowd, who managed to give up smoking. Well, that must be a great feeling, a great sense of achievement, isn’t it? You will find enough websites, books and guides that will help you be ‘that’ hero.

If you are still struggling to pick up that book or browse the net, here are some tips that will help you start the quitting process:

  • Take a trip down memory lane: Find out what made you light that first cigarette. Then, analyse what made you want to continue. Don’t make a mental note; write down these points on a piece of paper. And, on the other side of the paper, note down why you want to quit. This should give you enough reasons to learn more about quitting.

  • Note the situation: Make an analysis of situations where you feel you smoke the most. Again, find out why you do so, and what will happen if you don’t smoke in these situations.

  • Break the myths: Now, that you’ve decided to quit smoking, take a professional approach. Read books, surf the net and consult your doctor to analyse which method suits you the best.

  • Take your friends into confidence: Tell your friends that you want to quit smoking, and that they should stand by you like a pillar of strength. You will be surprised to find out how your friends can help you stick to your determination.

  • Be nice to yourself: It’s about time. So, indulge in some shopping or spa treatments or just about anything. Just celebrate!

So, are you ready to be that hero? Go ahead, and pick a date and quit smoking!

Is the Media Influencing People Against Smoking?


Indian Media Author Richard Bach quoted his views on smoking in his book, The Bridge Across Forever... "You matter so little to me that I don’t care if you can’t breathe. Die if you want, I’m lighting up."

Probably, that was the thought behind the ban on smoking in public places, so that the non-smokers doesn’t suffer because of someone’s personal choice. But, does the ban really help or do we need media to actively support this ban?

A couple of years ago, when actor Saif Ali Khan was admitted on account of ill-health and chest pain, he made a public announcement that he would quit smoking. News agencies, channels and newspapers across the country flashed his quote saying, "My doctors told me my condition was brought on entirely by smoking. It caused deposits in the artery, which caused that clot. I’ve decided to quit smoking completely."

Then, we have news of other actors such as Shah Rukh Khan and John Abraham, who made it public that they will try and quit smoking. Once again, is promotion of actors’ off-screen statements declaring a no smoking habit enough to curb the mass spread of the habit of smoking?
Stub the cigarette
But, the fact remains that smoking has acquired a certain social status. Good or bad, personal choice or an influenced habit, one thing is for sure, smoking is not just a health concern; it has far greater social influence.

The effort to break this social connotation though has begun; but is it enough? Is the media using its full rights to influence people against smoking? Or is it getting caught in the act of creative expression, while showing the lead actor puffing in a scene?

We need more characters like on the popular TV series, Friends, who scoff at their friend for smoking. Assertive or not, the media has a lot of power, and it is for us to help them channelise in a certain manner. So, as alert citizens, how can we help media to eradicate this social nuisance?

International News from the 14th WCTOH


The cost of SmokingSince the 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health kick started earlier this week, policies and topics discussed are being covered by the media worldwide. Lets take a look at some of the International articles pertaining to Tobacco carried by the media from India as well as around the world.

Smoking costs America $101 bn annually in health care

Though use of tobacco is declining in the US compared to developing countries, the habit still costs the country more than $101 billion in health care.

"Annual healthcare costs, both public and private, caused by smoking amount to $96 billion while $5 billion is spent on healthcare related to second-hand smoke. Premature deaths caused by smoking amount to $97 billion in productivity losses," according to the Tobacco Burden Facts on the US, released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, at the ongoing 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Mumbai Tuesday.

Obama's smoking 'lights up' Mumbai meet

US President Barack Obama has come under attack at the 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health here for smoking in public - and urged to kick the habit. Obama was singled out at the meet among successful men with a smoking habit.

Anti-smoking activists, doctors and experts described Obama's smoking as an "irresponsible" act taking into account his influential public persona. "I was not aware that Obama smokes. It was shocking for me to know this," a public health activist from Jordan, Kawkab Shishani, told IANS.

Shishani, a delegate, said smoking by a world leader like Obama sends a wrong message. "What would the young learn from him? Obama should give up smoking sooner than later."

Nigeria, Others Seek Compliance from Tobacco

At the 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in India which began yesterday and will run to March 12, 2009, governments and civil society are demanding that tobacco corporations comply swiftly with new treaty guidelines preventing industry interference in health policy.

Tobacco companies have long interfered in national health protections that might threaten its profits. The industry has done everything from lavishing gifts on officials and drafting tobacco control laws to hiring officials to lobby agencies they use to work for. All such activities were explicitly prohibited during the third session of the Conference of Parties (COP3), a global tobacco meeting held in Durban, South Africa in November 2008.

“Philip Morris International and others have a history of working at cross-purposes with the letter of the law and public health,” said Kathy Mulvey, international policy director for Corporate Accountability International. “This gathering of governments and civil society is a critical opportunity to forge the institutions and grassroots movements essential to spare our children the tobacco epidemic we face today.”

International Community Demands Big Tobacco Comply Swiftly with ...

At the 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in India this week, governments and civil society are demanding tobacco corporations comply swiftly with new treaty guidelines preventing industry interference in health policy.

Big Tobacco has long interfered in public health laws and regulations that might threaten its profits. The industry has done everything from offering contributions and "partnerships" with governments and drafting tobacco control laws to planting its representatives in tobacco control bodies.

The global tobacco treaty, formally known as the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), slams the door on such tactics. At a treaty enforcement meeting in South Africa last November, ratifying countries unanimously adopted a set of guidelines to protect against tobacco industry interference. The treaty is in force in more than 160 countries, home to over 85 percent of the world´s people.

"Philip Morris International and other tobacco giants have a history of working at cross-purposes with the letter of the law and public health," said Kathy Mulvey, international policy director for Corporate Accountability International. "This gathering of governments and civil society is a critical opportunity to forge the institutions and grassroots movements essential to spare our children from the tobacco epidemic we face today."

Tobacco DeathTobacco-related deaths in Asia reported on the rise

Tobacco will kill 6 million people annually by next year and cause an estimated 500 billion-dollar loss to the global economy, according to health conference in India Tuesday.

The 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Mumbai revealed that China and India were the world's biggest tobacco users at 325 million and 241 million tobacco users respectively.

'Tobacco industry has shifted its marketing and sales efforts to countries that have less effective public health policies and fewer resources and by 2010, tobacco will kill 6 million people worldwide annually,' Judith Mackay, special advisor at World Lung Foundation which prepared the document with American Cancer Society, the Zee TV news network reported.

Corporate leaders pledge to make work places smoke free

Corporate leaders from 60 companies came together here on Monday, not for a business meet, but to pledge to make work places smoking free. At least 19 companies signed a commitment to make their work places smoking free in the presence of Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss at the 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health here.

The corporate leaders also participated in a symposium on 'Corporate Leaders Meet on Worksite Wellness Initiatives: Promoting Smoke Free Workplaces in India'. The anti-tobacco law came into effect in the country Oct 2, 2008. The rules mandates that all public places, including government offices, public and private offices be smoking free.

Stubbed at workplace, smokers find new haunts to light up

The no-smoking board at one's workplace does keep smokers at bay, but a new survey conducted across the globe including India has indicated that a majority of
the cigarette-addicts simply found an alternative place to smoke.

A whopping 81% of the Indian employees interviewed said that they had found a new place to smoke ever since the ban on smoking at workplaces was implemented on October 2, 2008. On the bright side, the survey showed that 37% of the Indian employees were trying to reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked in a day.

The Global Workplace Survey conducted across 14 countries involved 21-minute interviews with over 3,000 employed smokers and employers. Indian findings were in sync with the data gathered in other countries such as the UK, France, Turkey and Brazil.

14th WCTOH Kickstarts in Mumbai


The 14th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health got underway in Mumbai with several anti-tobacco advocates, health experts, scientists, educators and policymakers having gathered to tackle the growing concern about smoking around the world.

Inaugurated by the Governor of Maharashtra, SC Jamir, the conference is being held in India for the first time. The issue is acute in India, which is the world's second largest producer and consumer of tobacco, and has never had a large-scale tobacco control campaign.

Jamir called for specific corrective measures to save the people, especially the youngsters, from the perils of tobacco. He lamented the fact that 90% of all oral cancer cases in South East Asia are linked to tobacco consumption. Anbumani Ramadoss speaks on tobacco in India

The Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss also present at the 14th WCTOH said, "In India, 57 per cent of men and just over 10 per cent women in the age group 15 to 49 use tobacco in some form or the other." He was hopeful that by May 31st, there will be pictorial warnings on all tobacco products.

With regards to smoking in films, Ramadoss said that a new strategy will be implemented to fight this issue, because in the past, villains were shown smoking, but now most of these scenes are filmed on heroes, which are admired by the youth.

In fact, one study revealed that 52% of the child-smokers had their first puff after seeing their heroes smoke on the screen. He rued the fact that a silent majority of 85% (who are against smoking) is being systematically overpowered by the noisy minority of the tobacco industrialists.

Youth Refuse to be Targeted by Tobacco Industry
Tobacco free youth at the WCTOH
Youth from 27 countries met at the 2nd Global Youth Meet (GYM) in the lead up to the 14th World Conference on Tobacco Or Health expressed their common ire against cross-border tobacco advertising in films. GYM was organized by Health-Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth (HRIDAY) and Salaam Bombay Foundation.

There are more than 160 youth from 27 countries and nine Indian states who are participating in the GYM 2009. They devised country-specific action plans on effectively implementing the smoke-free policies and ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in their respective countries.

Corporates Pledge to have Smoke-free Work Places

Corporate leaders from 60 companies came together during the conference to pledge to make work places smoking free. At least 19 companies signed a commitment to have a smoke-free environment. The anti-tobacco law came into effect in the country last year on October 2nd. The rules mandates that all public places, including government offices, public and private offices be smoking free.

"Smoking at work places leads to an increase in the number of sick leaves taken by an employee, increases the health care costs by about 18 percent, besides more occupational stress on smokers," said Shyam Pingle, a doctor and President of Indian Association of Occupational Health.

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Pre-conference Youth Workshop - 14th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

India film smoking ban is lifted