smoking in colleges
By Syed AkbarHyderabad: Second-hand tobacco smoke in closed environs has
emerged as the major cause of lung
diseases and reproductive problems in twin cities.
Records on patients reported at various hospitals in the city in the last
six years show that there has been an increase
in cancer and infertility cases by at least five per cent every year.
About 15 per cent of these patients are victims of
second-hand tobacco smoke, a term referred to people who do not smoke
themselves but involuntarily inhale harmful
elements from regular smokers.
According to estimates by health experts, as many as 15,000 cancer cases
were reported last year in Hyderabad as
against 10,000 cases in 2000. Infertility cases too went up considerably
from 6,000 to 10,000 a year during the same
period. Most of the cancer and infertility cases in non-smokers are due to
second-hand tobacco smoke. Health
experts point out that the victims are non-smokers who frequent bars, pubs
and restaurants where smoking is allowed
in closed doors.
"Neither ventilation nor filtration will reduce the impact of tobacco
smoke in closed door environments. There is
nothing like safe limits for second-hand tobacco smoke in areas which are
closed. About 300 cases of cancer are
reported to about 200 chest specialists in Hyderabad every week and about
50 patients are non-smokers. What is
troubling is that the incidence has gone up drastically among women, who
are mostly non-smokers," says senior lung
specialist Dr Pradyut Waghray.
The problem of second-hand tobacco increased to such alarming levels that
the World Health Organisation was
forced to issue policy recommendations to member countries recommending
compulsory smoke-free environments to
protect public health.
A majority of the patients reporting at city hospitals and clinics are as
young as 35 years and doctors link it to
smoking in colleges.
Fertility expert Dr Roya Rozati, who has done considerable research on
second-hand tobacco smoke and infertility,
points out that tobacco pollutants will affect both men and women. "While
it reduces sperm count and the quality of
the semen in men, it leads to infertility in women," she says.
According to Dr SVSN Prasad, senior medical oncologist at Apollo Cancer
Hospital, changing lifestyle among the
youth, especially women, can be a cause of further increase in lung
cancers in future. "Women from the IT and ITES
sectors are taking to smoking. This is further contributing to passive
smoking or second-hand tobacco smoke. The
increase in pub culture can also increase the number of cancer patients in
Hyderabad," he warns.
Incidence of acute myeloid leukaemia in mothers is also on the increase in
twin cities because of second-hand