India's Tobacco Control Efforts Hindered by Online Cigarette Sales

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India's Tobacco Control Efforts Hindered by Online Cigarette Sales
India faces challenges in tobacco control as online cigarette sales grow, leading to a rapid increase in head and neck cancer cases.

According to a report from The Times of India on November 5th, India is facing a significant challenge with the rise of online cigarette sales, which is greatly impeding the country's efforts in tobacco control. Additionally, there has been a rapid increase in the number of head and neck cancer cases in India.


Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, Deputy Director of the Tata Memorial Centre in India and a renowned anti-tobacco advocate, has expressed concern over India's high burden of oral cancer, which accounts for nearly one-third of global cases. According to Dr. Chaturvedi, tobacco products are the main culprit behind this issue. He further pointed out that online sales and the unrestricted availability of loose cigarettes are not subject to any regulatory oversight in India.


Another report has indicated that the use of smokeless tobacco is quite prevalent, particularly among tribal communities in India. In 2020, the cost of treating oral cancer in India amounted to 2.386 billion rupees, which was covered by insurance plans, government and private sector expenditures, out-of-pocket expenses, and charitable donations. Over the next decade, this is projected to result in an economic burden of 23.724 billion rupees.


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