The contrasting situation between Covid trends and tobacco consumption in Nagaland

This report by our correspondent from Nagaland portrays a clear picture of the status of tobacco in pre and post Covid Nagaland.

With the statewide lockdown playing a crucial role in suppressing the chain of COVID-19 infection in the state of Nagaland, with the team effort of the District Task Force (DTF) and healthcare workers, most districts of Nagaland are now easing some restrictions nonchalantly.
Dimapur district, which is the heartbeat for Nagaland's entire district, has seen a massive decline in the spread of COVID-19 positivity cases. According to the district's Nodal officer for COVID-19, Mr Y Kikheto Sema suggested that the statewide lockdown imposed in the state of Nagaland is finally paying off with the recent decline trend of COVID-19 positivity cases.
According to the official, Dimapur makes up 49% of the state's total COVID-19 positive cases. Analyzing the decline in the number of active reports, he expressed his optimism. He affirmed that he is hopeful for the district to be COVID-free once the lockdown period is over. 
The total number of positive cases in the state presently amounts to 21,854, with Dimapur district reigning at the highest. However, with the compliance from the public, coupled with the tireless efforts being invested by both the District Task Force (DTF) and the healthcare workers, the atmosphere in Dimapur brightens up with hope and liveliness.
However, similar to the calm before the storm, despite the declining trend of COVID-19 positive cases in the Dimapur district, another hailstorm of tragedy is brewing up. While the citizens of Dimapur are catching their breath of hope after months of the lockdown marathon, a report issued by the Health and Family Welfare suggests that Dimapur district has the highest number of tobacco consumers compare to the entirety of the Nagaland districts.
The joint director of Health and Family Welfare and National Tobacco Control Programme's (NTCP) state Nodal Officer, Dr Chiekroshuyi Tetseo, confirmed the report stating that mixed population and widespread social acceptance is the issue.
According to him, 54.1% of tobacco consumers in the state were men, while 31.7% were women, and 43.3% of adults (15 years and above) were either into smoking or consuming smokeless tobacco.
According to the district's Nodal officer for COVID-19, Mr Y Kikheto Sema suggested that the statewide lockdown imposed in the state of Nagaland is finally paying off with the recent decline trend of COVID-19 positivity cases.
Dr Tetseo claimed that the reason behind the highest tobacco consumption in Nagaland is the substance nicotine present in the product that makes it remarkably addictive. 
representative image of saying no to tobacco
Image: representative image of saying no to tobacco
When asked about the type of treatments available for tobacco addicts, he said that an addict could avail of treatment at Tobacco Cessation Centres (TCC), accessible at every district hospital in the state. 
Further, one can take advantage of proper treatment at private healthcare clinics elsewhere or within the states, he said.
Concerning the surge in tobacco consumption within the district of Dimapur, an interview with a tobacco addict who wished to remain anonymous said, "Dimapur is one of the most privileged districts among other districts of Nagaland. It is easier to get access to almost anything starting from jobs to vehicles to even getting admitted to a prestigious institution."
"Dimapur has it all, but with the gratification follows odiousness. Ever since the statewide lockdown was imposed, the easy access to tobacco was shunned, and with it, following the hike in prices. In some places, a 10 rupee pan masala was sold for 50 rupees. While in some remote parts of Dimapur, the same pan masala was being sold for 150 rupees."
"And if you are an addict, price doesn't matter as long as one can satisfy their wants. Therefore with restrictions and bans against tobacco consumption, humans, being nonconformists, will triple their actions against it. That is one of the key reasons why tobacco consumption rate skyrocketed with nicotine being responsible for creating addicts as second."
Further, he stated that most tobacco addicts don't see treatment as an answer since they review tobacco consumption as a two-penny-halfpenny issue until they are diagnosed with cancer at the last stage of their lives.



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