Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Wednesday made a clarion call to combat tobacco in the State.

Addressing a gathering on the occasion of Mizoram State’s 6th Anti-Tobacco Day at Chanmari’s YM Hall in Aizawl, the Chief Minister said, “Serious effort needs to be made by each individual to abstain from tobacco as consumption of it produces nothing good rather causes damage to one’s health.”

Zoramthanga said, “The Mizo people are traditionally heavy smokers, however, the rate of tobacco consumption in the State has declined gradually due to the efforts made by the government and Indian Society on Tobacco & Health (ISTH) Mizoram chapter.”

“Though the State has achieved tremendous progress in reducing the rate of smoking, other types of products like tuibur (nicotine water extract of tobacco smoke), sada (khaini) and gutkha are still being widely used in the State,” he said.

Stating the Mizo society is a regimented society, he said the Mizo people are easy to be educated and that every individual should declare a major war against tobacco.

Mizoram’s nodal officer of National Tobacco Control Program (NTCP) Dr. Eric Zomawia said, “More than 58 per cent of Mizoram’s population uses various types of tobacco products registering the second highest tobacco consuming state in the country after Tripura.”

Quoting a population based cancer registry, 2012-2014 report, he said, “Majority of cancer cases in the state were caused due to consumption of tobacco and its related products.”

According to a survey conducted at Aizawl Civil Hospital in 2017, 80 per cent of the patients showed signs of using different types of tobacco products and 35.59 per cent of them smoked cigarette, Zorammawia said.

Chief Secretary of Mizoram, Lalnunmawia Chuaungo, who also spoke on the occasion, said, “As many as 54 per cent of the male population and 14 pc of females smoke cigarette and ‘meizial’ (locally made hand rolled bidi), while 21 pc male and 46 pc female consume other tobacco products like sada and tuibur as mentioned in Global Adult Tobacco Survey conducted in 2017.”

Mizoram, which has been observing state anti-tobacco day since 2014, also witnessed it being observed in different parts of the state. The event was organized jointly by Indian Society on Tobacco & Health Mizoram Chapter (ISTHM) and National Tobacco Control Program (NTCP).

(With inputs from our Mizoram correspondent Aniruddha Laskar)

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