Srinagar, May 31: On world no tobacco day, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday has sought blanket ban on all tobacco products in Kashmir.
“Ban on tobacco products would prevent cancer that has reached to epidemic proportions in the valley,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Dr Hassan said according to union health ministry figures, Jammu and Kashmir has reported an estimated 51,577 cancer cases in last four years with lung cancer most prominent due to high rates of smoking.
“Research has shown that smoking is linked to about 90 percent of lung cancer cases,” he said adding that after lung cancer, foodpipe, stomach and colon are the other types of cancer that have been found to have high prevalence in Kashmir and smoking is a big factor.
The DAK President said not only does smoking cause cancer, but it also increases the risk of dying from heart attack and stroke, the two leading causes of death and disability in the valley.
“Smoking is a gateway for drug abuse which has reached to unprecedented levels in Kashmir,” he added.
Dr Nisar said JK is emerging as the smoking capital of North India as JK’s cigarette consumption is almost double the nationwide prevalence.
According to Global Tobacco Survey 20.8 percent of JK people smoke, against the national average of 10.7 percent.
“The prime reason for increased use of tobacco in Kashmir is its availability,” he said adding that “cigarettes and other tobacco products are freely available in Kashmir and can be purchased by anyone, whatever the age.”