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Concern in Mizoram Over Growing Tobacco-related Diseases

Alarm bells are ringing as cases of tobacco-related cancer increase in Mizoram, which happens to be the highest tobacco consumer .

According to authorities, Mizoram has the highest incidence of lung cancer, mostly among the youth.

Tobacco is being used in various forms including cigarettes and "zou zeal", a traditional form of tobacco. Chewing of "sadha" and "run nual", traditional forms of tobacco are also popular, both among children and women.

Tobacco is sold at small kiosks in villages.

Tobacco users say it is hard to part with the addiction despite knowing the flip side. Ramdingliana, a tobacco addict since the age of 10, said: "It sounds really good when they talk about cancer and other diseases caused by tobacco. But the truth is that it is very hard to give up such a bad habit once we are into it.

After knowing the hazards of tobacco use, many young men and women have got themselves enrolled in several de-addiction centres.

The clinics attend to 1400 clients every month, besides creating awareness among people from far-flung areas on tobacco-related diseases.

According to doctors, the endeavour would curb the growing menace of cancer in the State.

Jeemy L.Pautu, an oncologist, said: "Over the years, I have seen a number of cancer patients which include youngsters with lung cancer. And most of them have been smokers. In the urban areas, it is the youth emulating adults and feeling a bit mature when they smoke. The problem is that we generally do not tell our kids not to smoke".

In the tribal Mizo society, consumption of tobacco is rampant among children, who have been introduced to tobacco at a very young age.

With most of the families engaged in farming, the belief that consumption of tobacco cures the field-workers of insect bites has led to the current situation.

According to authorities, every year ov
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