80 per cent of more than 300 million consumers of smokeless tobacco in 70 countries belong to India and Bangladesh, a report on the global use of smokeless tobacco has claimed.
The report ‘Smokeless Tobacco and Public Health: A Global Perspective’ has claimed that majority of smokeless tobacco users (89 percent) are in Southeast Asia, which also has the highest oral cancer rates in the world.
“Users in India and Bangladesh make up 80 percent of total smokeless tobacco users in the world. Prevalence among men is high across most of the region, varying between 25 per cent and 51 per cent in five countries,” the report said.
However, use by adult women is similar to or greater than use by men in some low and middle-income countries. Among youth aged 13 to 15 years, prevalence is also high across the region, equivalent to that of cigarettes, it added.
The report says that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that smokeless tobacco causes oral cancer, esophageal cancer and pancreatic cancer in humans.
“More than 30 carcinogens have been identified in smokeless tobacco products. Smokeless tobacco use also causes adverse oral health outcomes including oral mucosal lesions, leukoplakia, and periodontal disease.
“Additionally, smokeless tobacco products contain nicotine, and users of these products demonstrate signs of dependence including symptoms of withdrawal upon cessation of use,” the report said.
In addition to giving details about health effects of smokeless tobacco products, the report also examines the distinct challenges and policy solutions in reducing the burden of smokeless tobacco use.
– Press Trust of India | New Delhi