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AIZAWL: The northeastern state of Mizoram leads India in tobacco consumption with 67.2 percent of its population consuming/smoking various tobacco products, an official said on Tuesday. "A record 67.2 percent of Mizoram's around 11 lakh population uses various types of tobacco products," Mizoram State Tobacco Control Society (MSTCS) nodal officer Jane R. Ralte told reporters. "The total percentage of male tobacco users in Mizoram is 73.6 percent against a national average of 32.1 percent," she said quoting a recent official survey. The percentage of female tobacco users is 16.1 percent.
The official said about 62 percent non-smokers in Mizoram were exposed to passive smoking. Ralte said Mizoram also registered the highest percentage of cancer patients in India, with a record 5,888 people currently suffering from the deadly disease. As many as 3,137 people had died of cancer in five years, she said.
Since 2009, the Mizoram government has been implementing an anti-tobacco programme in the state. "No smoking is allowed in public or in open places or in front of non-smokers.
Smoking has been banned in government offices, educational institutions, health centres and crowded places across Mizoram," an official release quoted Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla as saying in a meeting. Chief minister's wife Lal Riliani, a social activist and president of Mizoram chapter of the Indian Society of Tobacco Health, said more than 50 percent cancer cases among the Mizos were caused by tobacco. Mizos – men, women and children – are traditionally heavy smokers of different types of tobacco.