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Logic of convenience: The breakdown of cancer, cigarettes & India’s $9.9 bn industry

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By Ishan Kukreti

The bi-colored sticks of tobacco have given company to many a lonely, ecstatic, pensive and tense. People love to express themselves through a cigarette just as the North American tribes of the Old World believed tobacco smoke would take their prayers to the Creator.

Under such circumstances it’s not a surprise that there are 275 million smokers in India out of which almost a million bite the dust every year. The tobacco industry in India is worth a jaw dropping $9.9 billion. Though if the Supreme Court is to be believed then the nation spends around $2.1 billion in treatment of  tobacco related diseases and loss of productivity due to it.

New World and the Gift of Gods

In the native American tribes of North America tobacco was used as an entheogen in ritual and shamanic ceremonies. It was also used as a medicinal plant with a wide range healing properties. For these reasons it was considered a gift from the gods. With the discovery of the New World, tobacco was introduced in Europe and subsequently in India by the Portuguese. It was initially used as a trading commodity.

From the Creator to the coffin

The world woke up to the threat of tobacco as a sweet poison, slowly sucking the life out of the user after the First Report of the Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health said that smoking increases mortality in 1964.

According to the estimates of WHO, around 1 billion people will die due to tobacco related diseases in the 21st century. 80% of these deaths will occur in the developing world.

India’s tryst with Tobacco

India benefits a lot from tobacco production and it is the second largest producer of the cash crop after China. Ironically, it has a lot to lose too as 1.5 million people will die annually due to tobacco consumption by 2020, also the second highest after China.

India has implemented various laws to curb tobacco consumption. From 2 October 2008 under the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Rules, smoking in public places was banned. Cigarettes cannot be advertised according to the guidelines of the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2000.

Of cigarettes and cancer

Given the above facts, BJP`s Chief of Parliamentary Committee, Dilip Kumar Gandhi’s comment that no survey in India links smoking to cancer, seems a bit absurd, to say the least. The committee was formed to look into the non-issue of displaying health warnings on 85% of the surface area of cigarette packs.

In this regard it will be insightful to say that the tobacco companies have never been shy of protecting their business interests, at any cost. In Australia, Philip Morris sued the government for adopting a similar measure in 2011. Although the company lost the case, in its aftermath, Ukraine sued Australia for hurting its export. The absurdity of the situation there was no different for Dilip Kumar Gandhi’s comment as Ukraine’s tobacco export to Australia amounted to total big fat zero. There seems to be a pattern of absurdity here, or maybe just coincidental stupidity.

Narendra Modi government through its policies has made no bones about its industrial and corporate bent of mind. But is the government in this case, viewing matters of life and death through a distorted prism of economics and stretching the limits a bit too far? Or is it just an accidental show of euphemistic corrupt aspirations by a government promising good governance and progress?

Cigarette packs will tell the country soon enough.

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Try These Refereshing Summer Coolers At Home

You can now enjoy your favorite thirst-quenching summer coolers and beverages without compromising on the taste or on your health

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mango drinks
Try these great tasting and refreshing summer beverages. Pixabay

We are facing one of the hottest summers every recorded in the country. With these kind of temperature, it becomes extremely difficult to maintain health and stay fit. Staying hydrated is the most important factor to deal with the blistering heat. Enjoying your favourite beverages to beat the heat and proper hydration to the body sounds like a great idea. But these beverage delights come loaded with sugar and calories. Sugary beverage intake is significantly associated with a number of health issues.

Even WHO guideline recommend adults and children should reduce their daily intake of free sugar to less than 10 percent of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5 percent or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.

“Believe it or not but you can now enjoy your favourite thirst quenching summer coolers and beverages without compromising on the taste or on your health. It is time to replace sugar with a natural, zero calorie and great tasting sweetener such as Stevia to make your favourite beverages healthy, hydrating and refreshing. It can be part of a healthy lifestyle when it comes to looking for ways to reduce sugar and calories for your family,” says Navneet Singh, VP Asia Pacific and Head of South Asia region at PureCircle.

Try these great tasting and refreshing summer beverages sweetened with Stevia to beat the blistering heat and enjoy summer.

Summer coolers
Make your favourite summer coolers healthy, hydrating and refreshing. Pixabay

 

GINGER MINT LEMONADE

Ingredient (1 Serving)

Water 1cup (2000ml)

Lemon -1 tablespoon

Mint -15-20 leaves

Ginger- 1 teaspoon

Sugar free green 2 e scoops

Recipe

Take a cup of water in a pan and add 1 tsp fresh ginger.

Simmer for 10 minutes at low heat then keep aside and steep for another 30 minutes.

After 30 min strain the ginger extract in a bowl.

Lightly Crush mint leaves in another bowl with help of rolling pin or in pestle mortar.

Add lemon juice, ginger extract, sugar free green & remaining water (cold).

Mix all ingredients, remove mint leaves.

Pour the mixture into glasses and garnish with a slice of lemon.

MANGO LASSI

Ingredient (1 Serving)

Mango pulp/mango slice-1cup (100g)

Curd-1/2 cup (50g)

Water-1cup (100g)

Cardamom powder-1 teaspoon (0.5g)

Sugar free green- 3 scoops

Recipe

Pour mango pulp in a blender and add curd,

cardamom powder, water & sugar free green.

Blend it for 2 min or until it form a smooth blend.

Pour blend in a glass, garnish with few mango cube shape pieces.

MANGO GINGER LEMONADE

Ingredient (1 serving)

Mango puree -1/2 cup(50ml)

Water -2cup (250ml)

Ginger shredded -1 teaspoon

Sugar free green- 3 scoops

Lemon juice -2 Table spoon

Recipe

Take half cup of water in a pan and add 1 tsp fresh ginger.

Simmer for 10 minutes at low heat then keep aside and steep for another 30 minutes.

After 30 min strain the ginger extract in a bowl.

Add lemon juice to it, then add mango puree, 3 scoop sugar free green & remaining water (cold).

Mix all ingredients with hand or blend for 10-20 sec.

Pour the mixture into glasses and garnish with mango slice.

Summer coolers
Staying hydrated is the most important factor to deal with the blistering heat. Pixabay

MANGO SHAKE

Ingredient (1 serving)

Milk 1cup (125ml)

Mango slices 3/4cup (100ml)

Sugar free green 3 scoops

Almond 2 pieces

Raisins 4 pieces

Recipe

Chopped mango slice into small pieces.

Add mango pieces, 3 scoop of sugar free green & milk into the blender.

Blend until everything mix uniformly.

Pour shake into the glass and garnish with chopped almonds and raisins.

Also Read: On World No Tobacco Day, Experts Advice To Use Lockdown To Quit Smoking

NIMBU PANI

Ingredient (1 serving)

Lemon- 1 medium size

Chilled Water- 2 glass (400ml)

Rock salt- as preferred

Mint leaves-8 leaves

Sugar free green – 4 scoop

Cumin powder- optional

Chat masala- optional

Recipe

Take chilled water in a vessel.

Slice lemon & squeeze the juice with squeezer. Discard the seed.

Add black salt, mint leaves & sugar free green.

Mix all ingredients.

Serve chilled (IANS)

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WHO Accuses Tobacco Industry of Luring Children Into Usage of Tobacco By Marketing Practices

WHO is launching a campaign to alert young people to the dangers they face from the industry’s manipulative practices

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Children wear strings of cigarette and chewable tobacco and rehearse for a play on World No Tobacco Day in Gauhati, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

The World Health Organization accuses the tobacco industry of devious tactics to get children and young people hooked on their deadly tobacco and nicotine products.  In advance of World No Tobacco Day (May 31), the WHO is launching a campaign to alert young people to the dangers they face from the industry’s manipulative practices.

More than 40 million young people aged 13 to 15 smoke and use other tobacco products. The World Health Organization says the tobacco industry tries to get children and young people hooked on tobacco early in life, knowing this will turn them into life-long smokers. Unfortunately, WHO says many smokers do not live very long.  Every year, it notes millions of people have their lives cut short because of cancers, heart disease and other smoking-related illnesses.

Coordinator of WHO’s No Tobacco Unit, Vinayak Prasad, says the tobacco industry invests more than $9 billion a year to advertise its products.  He says much of this huge budget targets young people with attractive promotional campaigns. “At the moment, they are spending a million dollars an hour, which is by the time we finish our press conference, that is a million dollars spent,” said Prasad.  “And, why are they doing it?  They are doing it to find replacements users.  Eight million premature deaths every year.  So, they need to find new replacements.”

WHO says the industry sets its sights on the next generation of users by targeting children and young people in markets where tobacco products are not regulated and they can be manipulated easily. WHO is launching a new kit for school students aged 13 to 17 to protect them from the tobacco industry’s exploitative practices.  WHO Director of Health Promotion, Ruediger Krech says the kit alerts young people to the industry’s devious tactics and teaches them to say no.

Smoking Tobacco
WHO tool kit exposes tactics such as parties and concerts hosted by the tobacco and related industries. Pixabay

“The tool kit exposes tactics such as parties and concerts hosted by the tobacco and related industries, e-cigarette flavors that attract youth in like bubble-gum and candy, e-cigarette representatives presenting in schools, and product placement in popular youth streaming shows,” said Krech.

WHO is calling on all sectors of society to prevent the tobacco industry from preying on youth.  To reach a young audience, the agency is spreading its no tobacco message on  TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube and other social media. Health officials urge schools, celebrities and influencers to reject all offers of sponsorship from the industry.  They call on TV and streaming services to stop showing tobacco or e-cigarette use on screen.

Also Read: Read PM Modi’s Letter To Indians amid COVID war

They say governments should ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship and should enact strict tobacco control laws. (VOA)

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Smoking: Its Ill effects On Fertility and Child Birth

Smoking and tobacco use can have a serious impact on fertility and consequently the quality of life in pregnancy

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Smoking
Smoking increases miscarriage rates in women. Pixabay

BY SIDDHI JAIN

Smoking and tobacco use can have a serious impact on the fertility of both men and women, and consequently the quality of life in pregnancy. These health tips by expert can help. If a woman is a regular smoker, then it has a double effect on a woman’s fertility. Smoking can harm both the eggs and the uterus. It not only affects her egg quality, but can also have endometrial effect. Many studies too have shown that smoking can have negative effects on fertility, notes Dr Apurva Satish Amarnath, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility.

“In women, smoking decreases in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) pregnancy rates by about half. Smoking also increases miscarriage rates. smoking also reduces the egg reserve of the woman which is not a reversible condition. For instance, if we are to compare two women with the same characteristics in terms of egg quality, quantity, BMI, AMH-level, among others, the chances are that the non-smoking woman will conceive faster than the smoking woman. If a woman quits smoking completely, then the chances of conception improve and the risk of miscarriage reduces,” Dr Apurva told IANSlife ahead of the International Anti-Tobacco Day on May 31.

From the male’s perspective, the carcinogen quality of cigarettes in general affects the motility of the sperm and excessive smoking can lead to the poor sperm count and other fertility problems. As compared to females, the condition can be reversible.

If a man completely gives up smoking the quality of his sperms can improve, resulting in his fertility improving in a span of 3-6 months after quitting completely, she said.

Smoking
Smoking and tobacco use can have a serious impact on fertility. Pixabay

Smoking during pregnancy

According to Dr Sandeep Chadha, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Motherhood Hospital, Noida, smoking during pregnancy are dangerous for both mother and the baby.

If a mother smokes, the 4,000 harmful chemicals present in each cigarette passes directly to the baby through the mother’s bloodstreams. In such cases, the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage goes up besides an increased risk of low birth weight, baby’s heart rate, breathing problem and premature delivery, Dr Sandeep told IANSlife.

These risks to the baby multiply with the number of cigarettes smoked during pregnancy. Not only for babies, but tobacco smoking is also harmful to the mother, increasing her risk of cancers, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, and other conditions.

Passive smoking and childbirth

A study has presented that exposure to secondhand smoke was associated with lower IQs in children. For babies exposed to secondhand smoke, there is an increase in risk for developing asthma attacks, breathing problems, ear infections, impaired lung development, and coughing.

Smoking tobacco
Smoking tobacco decreases in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) pregnancy rates. Pixabay

Children exposed to secondhand smoke require more ear tube surgeries than those who are not exposed. Sudden infant death syndrome is more common in babies born to women who smoked during pregnancy as well as in babies exposed to secondhand smoke. Exposure to second-hand smoking by pregnant mothers is similar to first hand smoking.

Also Read: Patients of 80% COVID-19 Cases in India Exhibit Nil or Mild Symptoms: Health Minister

If you are planning to conceive, it’s better for the couple to kick the butt as early as possible. (IANS)