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Curbing Tobacco Consumption

Addiction to tobacco affects every ten out of fifteen people the world over. Many people start using tobacco based products from quite an early age. The teen years are the most vulnerable time, as this is the period in our life when we pick up these bad habits. While some may never try or get into the habit of using tobacco; most of us would probably begin by trying it, out of sheer curiosity. There are two primary ways to consume tobacco, smoking and chewing; while chewing tobacco maybe the oldest manner of tobacco consumption, smoking is probably the most preferred mode today. Of course, there are a few other ways to consume tobacco as different countries have different styles of tobacco intake.

In many developed nations particularly western countries, people usually prefer to smoke or chew tobacco. The use of tobacco is a little varied in the Middle East and developing eastern countries; particularly in South East Asia where tobacco consumption is very high in Pipe tobacco for sale comparison to west. Tobacco addiction is rampant in countries like India, Nepal and their surrounding countries. While smoking and chewing are still the basic methods, they still have different styles. In the Middle Eastern countries, with Islamic majority the people enjoy smoking tobacco in the form of ‘Shisha or Hookah’. It is basically smoking tobacco with water acting as the filter; the cleverly devised Shisha pot has a container at the top which holds red hot coals and tobacco and the base of the pot holds water. You have to draw in smoke from a pipe connected to the base of the pot, the smoke travels through the water up to the draw pipe. The Shisha is available in many flavors and the people there have been smoking it for generations.

Tobacco is commonly used in India and Nepal; a wide variety of cigarettes and chewing tobacco is available in the local market. The people here have different methods to chew tobacco; they add tobacco to other items. One of their favorite ways to chew tobacco is to wrap betel nuts, aromatic spices and tobacco in betel leaf and chew it for some time this concoction is called ‘Paan’. This concoction is extensively available and is believed to act as mouth fresheners, a trend made popular by the early maharajahs of India. They also have many tobacco added spices available, but the most common way to consume tobacco is quite fascinating. The people here buy packed tobacco and add in some limestone powder, they rub the mixture for some time and finally place the mixture in their lips, usually the cleft between the gum’s and inner lips. They say that the first-time users usually get a kick; gradually the habit gets the better of the user and eventually becomes an addiction. Another crude form of cigarette extensively available in India is ‘Bidi’, which smoked by the section of the Indian population who are generally below the poverty line. This crude form of tobacco smoking is the number one cause of cancer among the common masses in India; as these bidi’s are cheap and of very low quality. Actually it is just some raw unfiltered tobacco rolled in dried leaf; it does not have any filtration and is highly noxious.

It is estimated that about 274.9 million people in India consume tobacco; just about 0.9 million tobacco-related deaths occur in India annually as compared to 5.5 million the world over. It is also stated that India is the world’s third largest producer of tobacco and its related products. Despite the facts and anti-tobacco awareness programs the tobacco consuming population is only growing. Most developed nations have stringent laws for tobacco manufacturers, resulting most of the tobacco manufacturing companies shifting their base to developing South Eastern countries.

Tobacco addiction can lead to dire consequences, diseases like asthma, cardiac aliments and worse cases like cancer are all mostly related to tobacco consumption. If the habit is not curbed in time serious illness resulting in loss of life is inevitable. Teenagers and children should be warned against the use of tobacco strictly, as tobacco consumption can be a lifelong addiction. It is a well known fact that “Prevention is better than cure”, so preventing children from picking up the habit at an early age can be the best way to curb tobacco consumption. Awareness could be very effective, but a solid approach to control tobacco consumption is of the essence. One way to control this is problem would be to halt the selling tobacco products to minors and people below the age of 25; this rule should be strictly applied by all the developing nations. In fact selling tobacco to these bracket of people should be considered a major offense; and the guilty should face severe consequences. Although slowly, this approach would eventually play a major role to curb this bad habit.

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