Ailments from tobacco use cost Ind Rs 1.04-lakh cr in 2011: Report

NEW DELHI, May 29:
Diseases caused by tobacco use saw a whopping Rs 1.04 lakh crore spent behind them in 2011, which was more than the combined health expenditure by the Central and state governments for that year, says a report.
Highlighting the huge economic and productivity loss due to use of tobacco, the report, ‘Economic Burden of Tobacco Related Diseases in India’, says that the direct medical cost of tobacco-attributable diseases was Rs 16,800 crore and associated indirect morbidity cost was Rs 14,700 crore.
The cost from premature mortality stood at Rs 73,000 crore, indicating a huge loss of productivity, adds the report which was released by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan ahead of World Anti-Tobacco Day on May 31.
The health ministry and the WHO Country Office for India supported the report, which was developed by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).
The report estimates direct and indirect costs from all diseases caused due to tobacco use and of four specific ailments– respiratory diseases, tuberculosis, cardiovascular diseases and cancers.
Looking at the loss in terms of GDP, it was 1.16 per cent of the country’s GDP and 12 per cent more than the combined state and Central government expenditure on healthcare in 2011, it said.
“Tobacco use and the associated costs are creating an enormous burden for the nation,” the report said.
Vardhan termed tobacco consumption a menace and said a strong social movement is needed to address and tackle its growing use in India.
“This needs a redefining of strategy, which will require engagement of all sections of people. We need to convince tobacco users of its grave ill-effects,” Vardhan said.
Children can become the strongest messengers of positive health, including for spreading awareness against tobacco use, he said, adding that it is children who can convince, motivate and educate elders to give up the use of tobacco and tobacco products.
He also unveiled a print advertisement featuring former India cricketer Rahul Dravid, the brand ambassador for tobacco control. (PTI)

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