Srinagar, May 31: On world No tobacco day, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday has sought complete ban on tobacco products in Kashmir.
“That would prevent people from cancer,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Dr Hassan said Jammu and Kashmir (JK) has witnessed 39,041 cases of cancer in the last 3 years with lung cancer being most prevalent due to high rates of smoking.
International researches have shown that smoking is linked to about 90 percent of lung cancer cases.
After lung cancer, foodpipe, stomach and colon are the other types of cancer that have been found to have high prevalence and smoking is a big factor.
“Not only does smoking cause cancer, but it also increases the risk of dying from heart attack and stroke, the two leading causes of death and disability in the valley,” he said.
“Smoking is a gateway for drug abuse which has reached to unprecedented levels in Kashmir,” he added.
The DAK President said JK is emerging as the smoking capital of North India as JK’s cigarette consumption is almost double the nationwide prevalence.
According to Global Tobacco Survey (2016-17) 20.8 percent of JK people smoke, against the national average of 10.7 percent.
“One reason that is aiding this huge prevalence is because tobacco use, especially cigarette smoking is socially acceptable in Kashmir,” he said.
“Another reason for increased rates of smoking is the alarming levels of stress among people in Kashmir,” said Dr Nisar.
When people experience stress, they tend to manage the unpleasant feeling by resorting to the use of substances such as tobacco.
“The prime reason for increased use of tobacco in Kashmir is its availability,” he said adding cigarettes and other tobacco products are freely available in Kashmir and can be purchased by anyone, whatever the age.(KNT)