In a televised address at 'The International Conference on Public Health Priorities in the 21st Century: The Endgame for Tobacco', Singh said that tobacco use had claimed about 100 million lives in 20th century and is likely to claim a billion lives this century unless it is stopped with a firm resolve.
Stating that the country is committed to a vision of tobacco-free society, he said that the Parliament had enacted comprehensive legislations for tobacco control and touted the ban on sale and manufacture of gutka products in 33 states and UTs.
He also highlighted the ban on public smoking and ban on advertisement of tobacco products that help reduce tobacco intake.
Voicing concerns of tobacco farmers, Singh said, "As we act with conviction and commitment to eliminate tobacco as a threat to global health, we must also help those engaged in tobacco farming or manufacture to move towards economically viable alternate livelihoods."
Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that India faces a unique challenge in its response to the tobacco burden as myriad varieties of tobacco products, both smoking and smokeless, are widely used in the country.
He said that as per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (2009-10), one in four or about 275 million Indians use tobacco in some form or the other.
He noted that India has highest number of smokeless tobacco users in the world and also the highest number of oral cancer cases, 90 percent of which are attributable to smokeless tobacco use.


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