Nagaland ranks high in tobacco consumption

Kohima | May 31 : Alarmed by Nagaland figuring on the 2nd position of tobacco consumption in North East with prevalence rate at 57%, Minister for Health & Family Welfare Kuzholuzo (Azo) Nienu today declared that the department and the government under the chief ministership of Neiphiu Rio is committed to address the menace in all sincerity.
Taking the platform of “World No Tobacco Day” here today, the minister called upon all the stakeholders to append their commitment for further participation in the control of tobacco burdens in the state, for the interest and welfare of the people. “The issue of this magnitude cannot be dealt with by the department of health and family welfare alone. It needs comprehensive commitment from all stakeholders at all levels,” the minister said.
Quoting Government of India, Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2009-2010, the minister said the prevalence of Tobacco uses among the North Eastern states, Nagaland tops the second position only next to Mizoram with 57% (Smoking prevalence is 32% and smokeless form is 45%).
Gender wise prevalence of smoking in Nagaland stands at 49% male and 12% female. Smokeless form gender prevalence rate is 53% male and 37% female and daily use prevalence of tobacco in Nagaland is 81% smoking form and 70% smokeless form. The dual use of tobacco prevalence rate is 47% male and 14% female.
“Actual disease burden due to tobacco in Nagaland is still uncertain as we have not gone for detail survey,” Azo said. However, the independent survey conducted by the Government of India gave enough evidence that there is a serious diseases burden in the state, given the tobacco consumption prevalence rate at 57%, which he said is an alarming figure and stressed on the need to address this problem in all seriousness by every citizen to protect the people from tobacco menace.
Stating that the agenda of tobacco control is as vast as it is urgent, Azo said “it requires multi-sectoral action to prevent the primary update of tobacco, promote tobacco cessation, regulate tobacco products, and protect non smokers from second hand smoke.”
He also asserted that each of these components of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy requires action at multiple levels, utilizing diverse implementation pathways and connecting with a wide variety of stakeholders. The minister called upon every citizen, government and non governmental organisations and various departmental stakeholders to play respective positive roles in order to address this issue for all time to come.
“Effective enforcement of tobacco control programme can be achieved by establishing a state level coordinating mechanism that includes government and non-government stakeholders,” the minister said and invited all valued stakeholders to join with the department to take this matter forward.
The objective of “World No Tobacco Day” is to disseminate information on tobacco realities to various stakeholders, to share global concerns of tobacco menace, to change strategies of tobacco industries and to create a tobacco free world.
The minister said presently tobacco contributes more than 5 millions deaths per year globally. According to WHO, tobacco kills more people annually than AIDS, Alcohols, other addictions and accident and added that the figure is expected to rise to 10 millions tobacco related deaths per year by 2020.
In India, tobacco related deaths are expected to rise from 1.4% of all deaths in 1990 to 13.3% in 2020. According to WHO, India will have the highest rate of rise in tobacco related deaths during this period, compare to all other countries and regions.
Earlier, Dr. N. Savino, additional director (dental) and SNO (NTCP) delivered keynote address and stated that political will is needed for affective implementation of the Act, and also the support of NGOs as well as the commitment and determination from individual to deal with the menace of tobacco.
Chairman the programme, commissioner & secretary for health & family welfare Menukhol John said Nagaland has political will to carry forward. The observance of “World No Tobacco Day” here was marked with a seminar on the WHO FCTC & Smoke-free rules” which was sponsored by World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India under the theme ‘The WHO framework convention on Tobacco Control’.