Wednesday June 19, 2019

Government escalates fight against Tobacco in India

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A man smokes a cigarette along a road in Mumbai, India, January 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

Tobacco usage is rampant in India. It is used in many formats: chew-able to smoking form. With a population over 1.2 billion, India has close to 300 million tobacco users. Indian governments have shown resolve to tackle this menace, particularly in last 13 years. Various legislations have been brought in at central level as well as state levels with mixed and varying results. Yet due to sheer size of population and rampant usage, India is facing no less than a sort of tobacco epidemic. Experts believe that deaths due to tobacco may reach 1.5 millions (15 lakh) per year by 2020. Now by taking on the issue of warning size on the packs, it seems government is taking the fight head on with tobacco companies who have strong lobbying capabilities and money to aid their efforts. – NewsGram

By Aditya Kalra

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s health ministry on Tuesday ordered government agencies to enforce a new rule for bigger health warnings on tobacco packets, stepping up a fight against the $10 billion cigarette industry that has shut down its factories in protest.

The government wants manufacturers to cover 85 percent of a cigarette pack’s surface in health warnings, up from 20 percent now.

But ITC Ltd, part-owned by British American Tobacco, and Godfrey Phillips, partner of U.S.-based Philip Morris International, have opposed the measure, saying a parliament panel had suggested the health warning to be half the cigarette pack’s size.

K.C. Samria, a joint secretary in the health ministry, on Monday sought support of several other ministries, including foreign affairs and revenue department, to ensure strict implementation of the new rules, letters seen by Reuters showed.

A man smokes a cigarette (tobacco) along a road in Mumbai, India, January 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade
Tobacco: A man smokes a cigarette along a road in Mumbai, India, January 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

  • Santosh Varaganti

    first introduce a law to ban the sales of tobacco products near public and residential places. Should only be allowed to sell at specific places.

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Smoking May Increase Risk of Developing Hypertension, Warn Researchers

The results were published in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology

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FILE - New findings show that smoking causes devastating genetic damage, or mutations, in the cells of various organs in the body. VOA

Smoking may increase the risk of developing hypertension by impairing the body’s blood pressure autocorrect system, warn researchers.

“The human body has a buffering system that continuously monitors and maintains a healthy blood pressure. If blood pressure drops, a response called muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) is triggered to bring blood pressure back up to normal levels,” said Lawrence Sinoway from Penn State University in the US.

An additional system — called the baroreflex — helps correct if blood pressure gets too high, he added.

According to Sinoway, the study found that after a burst of MSNA, the rise in blood pressure in a chronic smoker was about twice as great as in a non-smoker, pushing blood pressure to unhealthy levels. The researchers suspect that impairment of baroreflex may be the culprit.

“When the sympathetic nervous system fires, like with MSNA, your blood pressure rises and then a series of things happen to buffer that increase, to try to attenuate it,” Sinoway said.

“We think that in smokers, that buffering — the baroreflex — is impaired.”

Other than chronic diseases, lifestyle habits like smoking causes cancer too. Pixabay
Other than chronic diseases, lifestyle habits like smoking causes cancer too. Pixabay

The results suggest that this impairment may be connected to hypertension, said Jian Cui, Associate Professor at Penn State College of Medicine.

“The greater rise in blood pressure in response to MSNA may contribute to a higher resting blood pressure level in smokers without hypertension,” Cui said.

“It’s possible that this higher response to MSNA could also contribute to the eventual development of hypertension,” Cui added.

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The researchers said that while previous research has found a link between chronic smokers and higher levels of MSNA bursts, less was known about what happened to blood pressure after these bursts.

For the study, the researchers examined 60 participants — 18 smokers and 42 non-smokers. None of the participants had hypertension.

The results were published in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. (IANS)