Tobacco is a deadly killer

Banglore,May 29: Inhaling air exposed to `bidi’ or cigarette smoke is more hazardous to health than contracting a disease from a garbage dump!

At the launch of a study titled `Current science of tobacco’, director of Healis Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health P C Gupta said tobacco is the single largest cause of death in India, more than HIV/AIDS, TB or malaria combined.

“Smoking kills 9 lakh people per year. The challenge is to protect India’s young population of 600 million people below 30 years,” he explained.

“`Bidi’ accounts for 77% of the tobacco market. Though the country uses various forms of tobacco, it’s not a regulated market,” said Pranay Lal, technical advisor with IUATLD.

Recently, a report by the International Labour Organisation showed that 15% to 25% children are employed in the tobacco sector. Wages earned by tobacco workers are less than NREGS rates — Rs 29 in Tripura and Rs 69 in Gujarat.

At the event, researchers and doctors expressed their disappointment over the delay in implementation of pictorial warning in cigarette packets.