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Saswat Singhdeo


Bhubaneswar: The mushrooming of hookah bars across the city is enough evidence to this new found smoking craze among the youth in Bhubaneswar. It is so much so that the rise in the number of tobacco –related diseases in Odisha has become a major concern for many.

For some it is the lack of awareness that couldn't stop them from consuming the deadly substance, while for others it is the misinformation that is slowly killing them.

The percentage of smokeless tobacco users in Odisha at 42.9% is double the national average of 21.4%, a latest survey has revealed.

Also, Odisha has the highest number of oral cancer patients in the world as per the new oral cancer detection method.

For the youth it is mostly the lack of information that has not stopped them from consuming substances with tobacco. For instance, the young crowd have a wrong perception that hookah is a great alternative for cigarettes.

“I have always preferred hookah over cigarettes as it is less harmful and comes in various flavours,” says a software professional Manisha Mohanty.

Similarly, Ashutosh Padhy, an automobile engineer and a frequent visitor to hookah bars says that he finds it a good replacement to cigarettes for the flavours it offers and the ambience the hookah bars have.

“I have spent more than 2 years in the Netherlands where smoking marijuana is a common thing but here hookahs are best when it comes to smoking which is less harmful than other tobacco-based substance,” said Padhy.

There is a perception among hookah smokers that they are less harmful than cigarettes but doctors believe that hookah’s ill-effect is as bad as cigarettes, a newspaper report said quoting doctors.

Hookah bars have been on the radar of the police department in the city for quite some time.

There have been multiple raids conducted this year in the city on hookah bars during which respective management of the restaurants have been penalized for using banned products in form of flavoured substance.

A new WHO report has revealed that people across the world are unlikely to reduce smoking and meet the target for a smokeless world by 2025, reported a leading news channel.

The survey report was published today on the occasion of “World No Tobacco Day”, the report on global tobacco consumption trends claims that countries will reduce the widespread consumption by 22 percent by 2025, which is way less than the target of 30 percent.

On World No Tobacco Day, top doctors from the city have urged everyone to fight against the menace by educating each other and spreading awareness on the ill-effects of tobacco.

Speaking exclusively to odishatv.in, Director of AIIMS, Bhubaneswar Dr. Gitanjali Batmanabane, said,“It is very difficult to give up the habit of tobacco consumption. Everyone should do their best by trying to educate others to refrain from consuming tobacco.”

Oncologist Dr. Madhabananda Kar from AIIMS says that instead of creating a phobia we have to address the personal issues of people who are addicted to tobacco.

“Creating a phobia by displaying pictures on tobacco products is not going to solve the issue of tobacco addiction. A persistent effort is required by the clinical psychologists, oncologists, NGOs and the mediapersons to tackle the tobacco menace,” Dr. Kar said.

Image source: 4to40.com

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