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March 21, 2010

Pregnant women smokers in India on rise

NEW DELHI: In an alarming disclosure, experts revealed on Saturday that the number of pregnant women in India using tobacco products is over two million.
pregnant women smokersSmoking should be made unfashionable. This can reduce the number of smokers definitely,” said R.P. Vashisht, head of smoke free Delhi initiative of govt. at a function organized by Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital & pharmaceutical company Pfizer. According to the Health Ministry of India, tobacco users largely are men, but the number of pregnant women consuming tobacco is also mounting.
Jagdish Kaur, in command of the tobacco control programme, health ministry stated, “It is shocking that over 8.5% of the ante-natal mothers in India are tobacco users.”

Tobacco consumers

According to the health ministry of India, the country has a minimum of 25 million successful pregnancies each year. Dhirendra Sinha, technical officer of tobacco control at the World Health Organisation (WHO), said that tobacco is a main cause of concern in south-east Asia, which comprises 11 countries including India. That the south-east Asian region has 40 million tobacco users, with 30 million from India alone, is a grim fact. 80% are non-smokers, that of the total number of tobacco users in India, stated Sinha. As the number of people giving up tobacco is so less, ex-tobacco consumers comprise mere 5% to 6% ,that means "less number of people 've quit smoking" said Sinha.

Tobacco cessation centres

Although the government has taken many initiatives to keep people from using tobacco, the issue remains overlooked. “There are 61 tobacco cessation centres (TCC) in India, directly under the supervision of the government but more needs to be done. The most important thing is awareness & community participation against this,” said Kaur.
Viraj Suvarna, medical affairs & research head, Pfizer, emphasized that thousands of people worldwide die owing to tobacco use. Suvarna also stated that Pfizer is aiding doctors in making people aware of tobacco control, establishing cessation centres, & collaborating with voluntary organizations to extend the message. “We believe smoking cessation is an ideal platform for the private sector to support existing government initiatives. For a more comprehensive outreach program it is important to engage with multiple stakeholders like NGOs, hospitals & the media,” stated Suvarna.

We are at a juncture where there is a grave need to educate the people on the benefits of tobacco cessation,” Suvarna added.

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