Claiming that nearly 2,000 Indians die due to cancer every day, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss Tuesday said at least two out of every five cancer cases in the country were due to tobacco consumption.
"In India more than 40 percent of cancer cases are due to tobacco. The relationship between oral cancer and tobacco can be assessed from the WHO estimates according to which 91 percent of oral cancers in Southeast Asia are directly attributable to the use of tobacco," Ramadoss said.
"India has been a forerunner in the fight against the tobacco epidemic which claims over 2,000 lives in my country every day," the minister told reporters at a cancer awareness programme organised by the American Cancer Society here.
The minister said India would set up a national regulatory authority to oversee the effective implementation of the tobacco-related laws. It would be formed under the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-12).
"A prohibition on sale of tobacco products through vending machines, ban on sale of tobacco products by minors and a ban on visible stacking of tobacco products at the point of sale have also been proposed through an amendment to the rules to restrict youth's access," he added.
He said, tobacco control is a multi-sectoral issue and in order to ensure effective coordination among stakeholders, his ministry had constituted a multi-sectoral task force, which includes representatives from various government departments and civil society groups.
In recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of tobacco control, an award called "Tumbakoo Virodh Puraskar" (anti-tobacco campaign award) will be conferred in four categories - individuals, institutions, civil society organisations and state governments on May 31, the World No Tobacco Day every year.