With 47 percent, Meghalaya ranks 5th in prevalence of tobacco use



It is a known fact that the prevalence of tobacco use in Meghalaya is very high and according to statistics, 47 percent of the population consume all forms of tobacco.

This was informed by Dr. Lana L. Nongbri, the State Nodal Officer, National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP), NHM Meghalaya in a programme held to mark the World No Tobacco day which is being observed every year on May 31.

According to her, among the users, 59.8 % were male and 34.2 % were female. According to GATS 2 (2016 -2017), Meghalaya ranks 5th with 47% tobacco users, 2nd in the Country at 31.6% in Smoking next to Mizoram and 15th in the Country for Smokeless forms at 20.3%.


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In her address, she pointed out the importance of collective effort to be made by different local government bodies in the state in effective implementation of various tobacco control program by the tobacco control cell in combating the magnitude of tobacco use.

 There are 1.3 billion tobacco users worldwide and nearly 9 million people die every year worldwide, 8 million as a direct consequence of this habit and out of which 1 million deaths because of exposure to second hand or passive smoking.


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As per the statistic, South East Asian Region where India is located is home to 1/5th of the World's smokers (237 million) and home to 80% of World's tobacco users (301 million) where nearly 1.6 million die each year in the region because of tobacco use. 

Explaining the theme of this year's World No Tobacco Day –"Protecting Youth from Industry Manipulation and preventing them from Tobacco and Nicotine use", Dr Nongbri described that for decades, tobacco industry has deliberately employed strategic, aggressive and well resourced tactics to attract youth to tobacco and nicotine products. "Their approach is a calculated one; they design things in such a way to attract a new generation of users to replace the millions who die each year, i.e., attracting the youth," she said.

World No Tobacco Day 31st May, 2020 will provide a counter marketing campaign and empower youth to engage in the fight against "Big Tobacco". "This campaign will serve to debunk myths and expose marketing tactics employed by the tobacco and related industries, equip youth with knowledge about the tobacco and related industries' intentions and empower influencers (in pop culture, social media, homes, or classrooms) to protect and defend youth and catalyze  change by engaging them in the fight against Big Tobacco," added Dr Nongbri.

She also observed that Social media companies should ban advertising, promotion and sponsorship by tobacco industries. Films, television production companies should pledge not to depict tobacco or e-cigarette use. "Parents & Relatives must educate children on harm of nicotine and tobacco product use. Empower them to reject industry manipulation. Nurses and Health practitioners ought to provide updated information about risks associated with use of these products and empower users to quit through the offer of brief cessation advice," she added.