Chewing tobacco, brewing epidemic
Susmita Barman explains how young people in India do not realise how chewing sweet gutkha could lead to oral cancer later in life
It was one of those busy days when you have no time for yourself in the morning. I was late for the 9 am radiology lecture and felt a bit nervous because the professor will not let you in if you are just a minute late. I cursed myself for studying late as the taxi got stuck in front of the boys' school about half a mile away from the gate of my college.
A few dozen young boys had spilled on to the road and created a traffic snarl, flocking around four or five mobile vendors selling colourful pouches of gutkha--a sweetened form of smokeless tobacco. The melee blocked rush hour traffic for half an hour--as long was the school break (or “tiffin hour”) lasted. This was almost routine, since the school authorities had banned gutkha hawkers from its premises. But the ban could not prevent kids, hardly in