Throat Cancer Survivor Writes To PM Modi, Health Minister To Revise Smoking Rules

72-Year-Old Bengaluru Woman Dreams Of Creating A Tobacco-Free Society

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Bengaluru: Having recovered from throat cancer, 72-year-old Nalini Satyanarayana has urged the government to give attention to sufferings of non-smokers due to passive smoking.

Nalini, who didn’t smoke a cigarette in her life, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa demanding their intervention to revise designated smoking areas, according to Indian Express.

Nalini, who contracted throat cancer at the age of 61, lost her voice box. She underwent surgery in 2010 through which an artificial voice box was fitted in her throat.

Now fully cured, Nalini is convinced that harmful effects of passive smoking are not adequately addressed by Indian lawmakers.

“On being diagnosed with throat (voice box) cancer, the doctor treating me found my exposure to second-hand (passive) smoke in my house due to my husband’s smoking habits as the reason behind the same,” she told Indianexpress.com in an email interaction.

“My vocal cords and the thyroid gland then had to be removed, leaving me with a stoma (a hole in the neck) after which I was fed through a tube attached to my stomach,” she recalled.

Now an activist fighting for anti-tobacco laws, Nalini says: “The Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) permits smoking in restaurants and hotels with more than 30 seating capacity. The Designated Smoking Area (DSA) should be set, with strict guidelines in the best interest of the health of non-smokers. However, officials are permitting DSA to be set up in all facilities which are non-compliant to COTPA,” she mentioned in her letter to the top leaders.

“My dream is to create a tobacco-free society in the future. It is difficult but not impossible,” she said.

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