It has been observed that every second man and every third woman in the state is addicted to tobacco, and as per the Global Tobacco Survey (GTS), MOHFW, 69% men and 43% women are using tobacco. The figures were revealed during a press briefing on Saturday by a high power delegation of ministry of health and family welfare (MHFW), who were in Kohima on a one-day visit.
The delegation included Pankaj Chaturvedi, Tata Memorial Hospital; Amal Pusp, director, National Tobacco Control Program; L Swasti Charan, chief medical officer, General Health Services; and Dr L Ashananda, regional director, health & family eelfare, Imphal.
The ministry of health and family welfare delegation also expressed serious concerns over the tobacco consumption, particularly gutka, which has been noted as "very, very high" in Nagaland. They also pointed out that Nagaland is among states with the highest burden of tobacco-related illness in the entire country and also among those with the highest incidence of lung cancer in the entire world, especially among women. The visiting team underlined that 57% of the population means that an estimated 2.5 lakh people in Nagaland are tobacco users.
It was also highlighted that Nagaland is losing thousands of young and middle aged people due to the habit of tobacco use, while billions of rupees are being wasted on the health care of these largely preventable illnesses. The state government was urged to understand the epidemic while concerned departments and= communities were called to join hands in ensuring awareness of tobacco hazards.