Kathmandu, May 31
Nepal Cancer Relief Society marked World No Tobacco Day today by organising a rally aimed at raising awareness on harmful effects of tobacco consumption and direct and passive smoking. The international event this year focuses on tobacco and its adverse impacts on lungs.
According to data provided by Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital, 454 people suffered from lung cancer in 2018. The number was 422 in 2017.
“Smoking, either first-hand or second-hand increases cancer risks. Chewing tobacco products increases high risk of oral cavity cancer,” according to Ujjwal Chalise, a consultant oncologist at Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital.
“Smokers are prone to cardiovascular diseases and stroke. People are likely to suffer from bronchitis and asthma,” he added. Consumption of tobacco can lead to asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and tuberculosis.
Tobacco consumption is mostly harmful for pregnant women as it poses risks both for a mother and baby in her womb. “Smoking is more likely to cause miscarriage, low birth weight of baby and cardiovascular diseases in pregnant women,” said the doctor.
World Health Organisation reveals that tobacco kills 27,137 people each year in Nepal. The most common killer is cardiovascular disease.
Though awareness against smoking, tobacco and its relation to cancer has increased, there is no proven mechanism to rid people from addiction to tobacco consumption. “One needs medical assistance and psychological help to give up tobacco, which is lacking in the country,” he added.
The campaign for World No Tobacco Day serves as a call to action, advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption and engaging stakeholders across multiple sectors in the fight for tobacco control.
The rally started from Bhrikutimandap and proceeded to Ratnapark ending at Bhrikutimandap. Hundreds of participants took part in the rally carrying placards with messages against tobacco consumption and smoking.
A version of this article appears in print on June 01, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.