Social experts say that promises such as "focus on preventive rather than curative measures", and "health for all families and habitations" have been made, nothing has come forth to address a heavy but controllable tobacco health burden.

Retired judge D Sreedevi, former Chairperson, Kerala
Women's Commission said, "Tobacco use is not just a public
health issue, it is also a matter of social injustice."

There was substantial proof that tobacco use leads to multiple health problems such as cancers, cardiovascular diseases and stroke, she said.

Allowing people to freely use these dangerous products and
making them vulnerable to dreadful diseases was a case of social injustice, she added.

Eminent oncologist and founder-Director of Regional Cancer
Centre here Dr M Krishnan Nair said, "Tobacco causes one million deaths in the country annually."

The rate of cancers as a result of tobacco use was 40 per cent in men and 15-20 per cent among women, but political parties has not taken up this preventable public health issue seriously, he said.

A look into the poll manifestos of leading parties in the Lok Sabha elections from 2004 – the year in which India ratified the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) – "shows that none of them has shown the political will to remedy this health malady," he said.

The FCTC, the first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of WHO, was developed in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic.


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