40 pc of women lung cancer patients in Goa non-smokers: NGO

Almost 40 per cent of women in Goa who have lung cancer do not smoke themselves, which means it is likely that they are victims of 'passive smoking', an anti-tobacco NGO has said.

The National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE) said yesterday that there has been a rise in the number of women in the state who smoke.

The overall percentage of smokers in the state's population has dwindled in the last three decades, it said.

NOTE India president Dr Shekhar Salkar told reporters that almost 40 per cent of the women diagnosed with lung cancer in Goa are non-smokers.

"This means either they are affected by passive smoking because of their husband or partner (who smoke) or by some other factor," said Dr Salkar, who is an oncologist.

While as much as fifty per cent of respondents said that they smoked as per a survey conducted in Goa in 1984, the proportion has come down to 10 per cent in 2018, he claimed.

"But we are worried that the number of women who smoke has gone up a bit," Salkar said, attributing it to changing cultural norms, peer pressure and the tourism industry.

The NGO, which conducts surveys on consumption of tobacco and its effects, says that 90 per cent of respondents who chew tobacco were found to be from slum areas in Chimbel and Zuarinagar.

As per the report of Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) India 2016-17, 4.2 per cent of Goans smoke, while 6.5 per cent of the state's population uses "smokeless tobacco" (chews tobacco), he said.

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