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Tobacco Smokers At Higher Risk Of Developing Tuberculosis, Say Experts

World Tuberculosis Day is observed on March 24. The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB

World Tuberculosis Day: Tobacco Smokers At Higher Risk Of Developing TB, Say Experts
Tuberculosis, primarily caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis, poses a complex challenge in India, where roughly a quarter of the population is infected and at risk of developing the disease

New Delhi: Tobacco smokers are at a higher risk of developing tuberculosis and experiencing more severe forms of the disease, experts said on Saturday (March 23). Additionally, exposure to second-hand smoke can worsen tuberculosis (TB) outcomes and hinder treatment effectiveness, the experts said as they emphasised the urgent need for strengthening tobacco control laws to combat this dual threat.

World Tuberculosis Day is observed on March 24. The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, paving the way for diagnosing and curing this disease.

Also Read: 1,748 Panchayats In Uttar Pradesh Claim To Have Become TB-Free

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global TB Report 2023, India accounted for the highest number of tuberculosis cases in the world in 2022, representing a staggering 27 per cent of the global burden, India recorded 2.8 million (28.2 lakh) TB cases in 2022.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious vision to eliminate TB by 2025 demonstrates the government’s commitment to addressing this issue comprehensively, the experts said.

One significant factor exacerbating the TB burden in India is the connection between tuberculosis and tobacco use, they said.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey in India, a staggering number of individuals are tobacco users. Bhavna Mukhopadhyay, Chief Executive, Voluntary Health Association of India said,

To combat this dual threat of TB, there is an urgent need to strengthen tobacco control laws. By implementing stringent tobacco control measures, India can mitigate the impact of tobacco use on TB incidence and mortality rates. Moreover, there is a pressing need to enhance tobacco cessation services to support individuals in quitting tobacco use and reducing their risk of TB and other related health complications.

Also Read: Missing TB Cases Reduced From 1 Million In 2015 To 0.26 Million In 2023: Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya

Tuberculosis, primarily caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis, poses a complex challenge in India, where roughly a quarter of the population is infected and at risk of developing the disease.

Recent research has shed light on a correlation between tobacco consumption and TB, illustrating how smoking significantly increases the risk of contracting, developing, and dying of TB. Dr Sonu Goel, Professor, Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health PGIMER, said,

Studies indicate that individuals who smoke tobacco are 2.5 times more likely to develop pulmonary tuberculosis compared to non-smokers. TB patients who smoke face double the risk of death during treatment as smoking not only heightens susceptibility to TB but also undermines treatment effectiveness. It also increases the likelihood of relapse and adds to the burden faced by patients and healthcare systems alike.

Additionally, the widespread prevalence of tobacco use, with an estimated 10 per cent of India’s populace being tobacco users, further complicates efforts to combat TB in India, Dr Goel said. He added,

By quitting smoking, individuals can protect themselves and their communities from the devastating impact of TB.

Despite commendable initiatives by the central government, such as the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) and the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP), stronger enforcement and evidence-based interventions are imperative to effectively curb tobacco consumption, experts stressed.

Moreover, there is a growing consensus on the importance of collaboration between health sectors to efficiently address the tobacco-TB connection, utilising existing TB infrastructure to deliver cessation interventions effectively, they said.

The intertwined relationship between tobacco smoking and tuberculosis presents a formidable challenge to public health in India, they said.

Coordinated efforts, encompassing both preventive and treatment strategies, are essential to combat tobacco use and mitigate its adverse impact on TB incidence, progression, and mortality, the experts said.

Also Read: Researchers Give New Insight Into Tuberculosis Treatment

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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