Amartya Sen calls for tough laws against smoking
Kolkata, Jan 2 (PTI) Nobel Laureate economist Amartya Sen today favoured tough laws against smoking as a step to prevent the spread of cancer. "Yes, I think it has to be done. The laws (on smoking) have to be made toughee than they are now. China has a long rule book on the subject", Sen said at an interaction after delivering the second Foundation Lecture of the Cancer Foundation of India here. He said it was upto the public to raise the demand for government subsidy on cancer medicines. "If you want subsidies, you will have to advocate for it". Earlier in his Founation Lecture, Sen pointed out that 40 per cent of cancer deaths of people in the age of 30 to 69 were tobacco-related and said there was a need for a public policy and public discussion on behaviour alteration. Public attitude was very important in management and alleviation of cancer, Sen, himself a cancer survivor, said communication between the doctors and the patients tended to focus more on epistemology than the practical side. ''Also, education in general and medical knowledge in particular are important. Neglect of basic education in India had a clear connect with cancer mortality,'' Sen said adding there was also a need for s public discourse on environmental policies and issues like presence of arsenic in ground water and presence of tar in the air. Observing that India had moved prematurely on relying on private healthcare, he said "we have emulated China but we have ignored that 2.3 per cent of government expenditure of China is on healthcare compared to 1.4 per cent in India". Life expectency in China stood at 75.5 years while it India it was 64.4 per cent, he said. (MORE)
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First Published on Jan 2, 2012 11:06 pm