Jammu and Kashmir is fast emerging as the ‘smoking capital’ of the North.
Jammu and Kashmir (JandK), among the four Indian states with the highest prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), recorded tobacco sales worth Rs 5,530 crore over seven years to 2017-18, according to state sales tax data exclusively accessed by IndiaSpend. This is the equivalent of the funds needed to construct four state-of-the-art hospitals along the lines of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Jammu.
COPD, typified by coughing, wheezing and breathlessness, is the second most frequent killer disease in India, responsible for the death of almost 1 million Indians in 2017, IndiaSpend reported in March 2018. Caused by the inflammation of the lung’s airways, it destroys the air sacs that extract oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.
Air pollution and smoking have been established as the primary reasons for COPD in India.
JandK witnesses widespread burning of biomass fuel for cooking and heating, as well as widespread smoking, which together cause a 16-18% prevalence rate for COPD in the state, while the national average is 5-7%, said SundeepSalvi, director of the Pune-based Chest Research Foundation.
In JandK, acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD) in about 470,000 chronic patients annually costs around Rs 210 crore, enough to set up four maternity hospitals, one study has estimated. “Jammu and Kashmir is fast emerging as the ‘smoking capital’ of the north,” The Economic Times reported in February 2015, citing sources at the Voluntary Health Association of India.
One in five, or 20.8%, of JandK’s people smoke, against the national average of 10.7%, according to the Global Tobacco Survey 2016-17. The state ranks the sixth highest among Indian states by smoking habits as per this survey.
(Extracted from an article by AtharParvaiz that appeared on sabrangindia.in)