According to recent data published by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), lip and oral cancer cases in India have increased by more than twofold since 2012, as reported by Mint. ICMR, which is one of the oldest research bodies in the world, has attributed the spike to increased consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
“Alcohol consumption and increased usage of betel nut/areca nut, forms of tobacco such as sweet supari and other chewing products containing tobacco have a direct impact on human health. Many people don’t know that supari and other forms of tobacco can even cause sudden death. The rise in the lip and oral cancers can be directly linked with alcohol and tobacco,” noted Ravi Mehrotra, a Director with the ICMR-National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research.
While there were 56,000 such cases in 2012, the number rose to 119,992 in 2018, an increase 114.2 per cent in six years. Commenting further, Mr Mehrotra added: “The usage of tobacco has decreased in India to an extent, but alcohol consumption is certainly increasing. Moreover, with more diagnostic facilities available now and increased awareness, more and more cases are coming to notice.”
In India, over 300 million Indians use tobacco products regularly, and among them, one million die prematurely every year. Also, tobacco-related diseases have cost the government Rs 1,04,500 crore in additional healthcare costs. India’s per capita alcohol consumption has also doubled in 11 years.