The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned over the rising instance of tobacco consumption among youth in India which has in turn led to a spike in cases of oral cancer.
According to the stats released by WHO, the percentage of children aged between 13-15 years who smoke has risen to 5.8 percent among males and 2.4 percent in females while the overall consumption of tobacco among children is around 16.2 percent.
Prasad Oak who is the counselor at the Anandvan Bahuddeshiya Sanstha said that children often start consuming tobacco by watching their parents. "The children mostly inherit the habit from their parents. Among slum dwellers, consumption of tobacco by children is not usually considered a bad habit as the adults themselves are unaware of concomitant effects of tobacco", he said.
Another instance that is worrying is the consumption of chewable tobacco in the form of mawa, pan masala and gutkha, which can cause oral submucous fibrosis, a pre-cancerous lesion. Kalyan Gangwal, founder member of the Sarva Jeev Mangal Pratishthan, said that many cases of submucous fibrosis have been detected in youngsters.