NEW DELHI, APRIL 7, 2022
The tobacco-control policy should be further strengthened at the earliest to save lives of 1.3 million Indians annually who meet with untimely death due to consumption of tobacco, demanded noted economist and BJP’s national spokesperson Gopal Krishna Agarwal.
Agarwal was also of the opinion that increasing the tax on such harmful products would not only generate more revenue for Govt’s welfare schemes, but also prove beneficial to those who use them by reducing the consumption of these products. Along with this, the additional revenue earned therefrom could be utilised for the welfare and alternative employment of the poor and tribals who are engaged in tobacco related business and are being victims of exploitation.
Participating in a discussion on “Prevention of tobacco related deaths” organised by Tobacco Free India on the occasion of the ‘World Health Day’ today, Agarwal said that farmers and laborers engaged in the business of tobacco products are exploited fiercely. Their health is also being affected very seriously. In such a situation, levying an additional cess on these sin goods would be beneficial both for the government as well as the public as the extra money generated from that could be used for providing alternative employment and providing health services to the affected people besides starting a tobacco-free center.
He further said that in the case of addictive products like tobacco, awareness among people is not enough, but in such cases the pricing factor has a big impact. According to the principle of economics, if their price is increased through tax, then it will help in reducing the consumption, which will also benefit those who use them. The existing taxes on tobacco products are not enough, he argued.
Agarwal also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken the resolution to make a healthy India, and in order to fulfill it, along with treatment, preventive measures are also very important. Twenty eight percent of the adult population of the country is using tobacco products. As various tactics are being adopted by the producers of sin goods to lure students of the age group of 13 to 15 years, the government has decided to make the tobacco-control laws more stringent.
Participating in the webinar, other health experts also emphasized that the proposed amendments to the tobacco-control law COTPA by the central government should be implemented with immediate effect.
Addressing the webinar, Dr. Uma Kumar, Professor and Head of the Department of Rheumatology, AIIMS New Delhi said that the major parts of the body are seriously affected by the consumption of tobacco. Apart from heart organs like teeth and bones are also seriously affected and people suffer from respiratory diseases and cancer due to consumption of tobacco.
Blaming tobacco consumption to the rising cases of oral cancer in India, Dr. Vishal Rao, Country Director, Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, HCG Bangalore said that where the youth should be participants in the progress of the country, they are getting hospitalized due to tobacco products which is really very pathetic and certainly not in the interest of the country and the individuals.