Nagaland is the second highest user of tobacco in India today, only next to Mizoram, said Nagaland Health and family welfare department’s Commissioner and Secretary Y Kikheto Sema.
Addressing the World No Tobacco Day programme at G. Rio School Kohima on Wednesday, Sema said children aged between 13 to 15 years are the highest consumer of tobacco at 43 per cent among all tobacco users in the state.
The programme was organised by the State Tobacco Control Cell of the National Tobacco Control Programme Nagaland under the theme “We Need Food, Not Tobacco”.
Sema added that more than 700 patients were registered in hospitals in Nagaland recently, most of them with tobacco-related cancer.
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Besides political willpower, he suggested that the churches and NGOs need to come forward to curb the situation.
Sema expressed his happiness that the younger generation is coming up with a cause to say no to tobacco. As he launched the 60 days ‘No Tobacco Campaign’ today, he urged all the students and children to initiate the ‘no tobacco home’ campaign as the parents will surely agree to their children.
Sema congratulated and gave away certificates to 15 students of G. Rio School for pledging ‘no tobacco home’, along with their parents, saying this will pave the way for a huge change as Nagaland is the fourth state in the country to start ‘no tobacco home’ campaign.
Sema said consumption of tobacco is on the rise as approximately two lakh hectares of land are utilised for farming tobacco plants in the world, affecting our lives and the lives of farmers.
He added that the World Health Organisation has teamed up with other like-minded United Nations Organisations agencies to help support the farmers by way of awareness and financial assistance so that they will give up tobacco cultivation.
Urging people to stay away from all tobacco products, Sema said about 8.2 million deaths occur in a year globally due to tobacco. “Even in our country, 1.3 million deaths are reported every year due to the consumption of tobacco,” he said.
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