Tobacco Troubles in India are at an All Time High
According to the latest statistical reports, almost 35% of the total Indian population is known to consume tobacco related products in some way or another. This simply implies that over 274.9 million people in India are regular users of tobacco. In fact, statistical reports have confirmed the fact that in India, cigarettes are cultivated in a vast expanse of land, which when combined, would convert into almost five lakh football fields. In the year 2010, it was clearly stated that over one lakh deaths caused by cancer in India were caused owing to tobacco consumption. It has also been reported that of these, over 40% cancer death patients were males and over 20% were females.
As per the World Tobacco Atlas, over 390,000 hectares of land in the Indian subcontinent was being used for cultivating tobacco. In the world, over 3.8 million hectares of land is being used for tobacco cultivation and almost one hundred and twenty four countries are known to cultivate this crop. As per the World Tobacco Atlas, a single hectare of land can yield a tonne of tobacco leaf. On the other hand, if on the same land, the farmer decides to cultivate potatoes, then the total yield would be almost 14.6 million tonnes in a single financial year. Hence, this clearly states that growing tobacco is not at all a suitable farming occupation.
Owing to the rise on tobacco consumption in India, the overall healthcare costs in the subcontinent have also risen and have crossed the danger mark of $1,195 million. This is indeed an alarming fact as this healthcare expense is directly linked to tobacco smoking. On an average, in a single financial year, the Indian government is known to collect over $1.62 billion annually through the means of cigarette taxation programs. On the other hand, the total medical bills that are directly linked to tobacco smoking amounts to a mind blowing $6.32 billion on an annual basis. This clearly shows that the government is actually losing out in terms of revenue by permitting the sales and manufacturing of tobacco in India.
In the year 1997, tobacco production was known to touch its peak at 9 million tonnes, yet ever since that year, the overall production of tobacco has seen a steady decline and at present it stands at a modest 7.1 million (this figure was calculated in the year 2009). It has also been noticed that over 20,000 hectares of forests are being cleared on an annual basis for the cultivation of tobacco. Another alarming fact which has come in the open is the production levels of tobacco in India. As per the latest statistical data, over 436,000 hectares of land in India are being used for cultivating tobacco. This makes India as the third largest producer of tobacco in the entire world.
It should also be noted that tobacco is a highly sensitive plant, which requires large amounts of pesticides to help it grow bigger. This simply implies that in a period of three months, over 16 pesticide applications are administered to the tobacco plant, to ensure that it remains disease free. Without a shadow of a doubt, when this chemical composition is inhaled via cigarette smoke, people are bound to contract fatal diseases such as cancer.