As young people are suffering from head and neck cancer due to increased tobacco consumption, health experts have urged the government to frame a licencing policy for the sale of tobacco products.
As young people are suffering from head and neck cancer due to increased tobacco consumption, health experts have urged the government to frame a licencing policy for the sale of tobacco products. Due to the unregulated sale of cigarette and chewable tobacco, people start consuming it at a very young age, says Alok Thakar, professor of otorhinolaryngology and head-neck surgery at AIIMS. “To regulate the sale of these tobacco product, the government must frame a licencing policy to control its consumption among younger generation,” said Dr Thakar.
Claiming the head-neck cancer to be the most common cancers in the country, Dr Thakar said that by avoiding excessive use of tobacco and alcohol consumption we can reduce the disease-burden by around 50 per cent and it could be done thro-ugh regulation and awar-eness. “There is no regulation on the sale of to-bacco products. One can put a trunk and start selling tobacco anywhere in the country. Every few meters, one can easily spot a tobacco shop. There should be a licencing policy to check number of sh-ops selling tobacco products,” Dr Thakar added.
Head and neck surgeon at Tata Memorial hospital, Dr Anil K. D’Cruz, said that in the past one-and-a-half decades, minimum age average of head and neck cancer patient has dropped by 20 years from 50-55 years to 30-35 years. “Now, people have started consuming tobacco and related product at the age of 15 or below and after consuming it for 20 or more years, it take the form of cancer, causing drop of average minimum age of head and neck cancer patients,” added Dr D’Cruz.
Experts claim that ever year 3.5 lakh new cases of head and neck cancer are reported in the country and it may increase to 20 lakh by 2030 if not tackled properly. They suggested that by taking a few corrective steps, disease-burden can be reduced to around 60 to 70 per cent.
Dr Thakar, meanwhile, said that a doctors delegation from Pakistan which was scheduled to attend a four-day global meet on cancer care starting Wednesday could not do so as the members were unable to get visas.