Khan is a 40-year-old tobacco grower from the Belagavi district of Karnataka. He also used to chew a little tobacco grew, until he reached tongue cancer in 2015. He was treated in a private hospital in Sangli, a district of southern neighbors Maharashtra Belagavi. He took a loan of Rs 40,000 for his treatment he managed to pay only Rs 5000.
“I can barely open my mouth,” Khan said at an event to present the report of the second global smoking survey among adults in early June. “I can not eat properly or taste the food.”
Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, a physician and a tobacco control activist, asked Khan to talk about his personal experience as a tobacco grower and the victim of a tobacco-induced cancer.
Tobacco growers have been caught in a war between two lobbies – tobacco health groups and pressure from the tobacco industry. In the last eight months, the ads have appeared as motorcycle tricycle signs and banners depicting a tobacco grower with his hands folded together.
The man is supposed to appeal to his livelihood to be protected from activists “hidden program” control. Health activists allege that cigarette companies are behind the advertising campaign that allows farmers to experience the health risks of growing and consuming tobacco.
In April, the Ministry of Interior banned the Indian Public Health Foundation to receive foreign funds, citing anti-smoking lobby. Days after the move, with advertising tobacco producer thesaures resumed, this time with a message thanking the government to act against NGOs.
Ironically, the basis of public health in India carried out its campaign against smoking, at the request of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Health, JP Nadda, was praised by the World Health Organization work itself.
The tobacco producers launching the Global Adult Tobacco Survey have argued that advertisements do not represent them. Mallikarjun Jakati, Krushika Karnataka Sangha, a farmers’ association in Karnataka, said the ads were supported by large companies. “You who have money to give those big ads?” You have, he asked.
During the presentation of the conference, Khan, the farmer’s tobacco, spoke out against growing tobacco.
“Tobacco farming must be stopped,” he said. “You get more money for the increase, it’s true, but this money does not stay with us.” Tobacco-related diseases, such as cancer, require spending money.
After treatment, Khan stopped chewing tobacco and advised his friends to stop chewing tobacco as well. But he can not stop growing tobacco, even if he wants to.
The Khan family cultivate tobacco for two generations. Khan is a poor farmer can not raise enough seed capital to switch to another crop. Banks, he said, offer loans to farmers only if they grow cash crops such as tobacco and sugar cane.
“Banks are not interested if we grow other than tobacco,” he said. “The benefits are lower when you grow other crops.”
But in the tobacco area, Khan can not make enough profits to invest in pesticides, seeds and fertilizers a year.