Khin Maung Oo
As known by all, cancer is a major public health problem in the whole world, as is it in Myanmar. Since our childhood days, a fear was conceived in our minds that a person suffering from a kind of cancer was a terminal patient, who was likened to a prisoner in a condemned cell waiting for the day to be hanged. But rarely was heard about it in those days. Contrariwise, these days kinds of cancer are numerous, namely tongue, mouth, stomach, intestine, colon, liver, lung, pancreas, bones, skin, ovary, prostate, renal, brain, leukemia and etc,. Apart from a few, like breast cancer, many are regarded to be serious. With the advancement of medical research and medicines, death rates may be reduced, but cancer cannot be wiped out, because we are being surrounded by risks of cancer worldwide.
Though we never smoke, we happen to become passive smokers as we breathe in cigarette smoke in public places, on roads, in markets, at bus stands, and in other places. In some houses and at stalls in markets we have to inhale smoke that comes out from burnt scented sticks.
In spite of warning that we should avoid consuming dyed foods and chemical-contaminated imported snacks as they can harm our health, we especially our children still cling to eating them. Knowingly our people can get dreadful and evil side-effects from the practices of smoking and chewing betel quid. It has been learnt through articles in papers and face-book photos that it is difficult for them to abandon these bad habits.
It is heartening to read the news that sale of tobacco (cigarette) is strictly prohibited in school campuses and within a 100-ft-parameter of school premises. Some boys try smoking, at first just for tasting or to imitate the behaviors of their peers or seniors. But before they recognize it, smoking becomes an acquired taste for them.
Thus, it is likely for them to abuse drugs at any time. The State has enacted a Law to control consuming of tobacco and tobacco products on 4th May 2006 and it began to take into effect on 4th May 2007. But, minors under 18 must not be sold or given or made to sell tobacco. And, words of warning hazards on smoking are required to be attached on packs of cigarette. Dr Thin Lwin, Minister for Social Affairs of the Kachin State Cabinet said that most people still failed to know and abide by the law, thus it was necessary to take action against those who violate the law.
“A stitch in time saves nine,” as the saying goes. If this problem remains unsolved urgently, it may become worse. We the whole populace should take part in the campaign for the law to take into effect so that our country will produce healthy, ebullient and promising youths for our future nation.