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889 AMC-run primary school kids addicted to tobacco, gutka

In many cases, children pick up such habits from peers and slowly get addicted. And in most cases, parents remain clueless, says Swati Bhatt

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889 AMC-run primary school kids addicted to tobacco, gutka
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The annual health screening at AMC-run schools has revealed that 889 primary schoolchildren are addicted to tobacco, some of them even preferring it to chips or chocolate.

“When children come for dental check-ups, we can instantly tell whether or not they consume tobacco. And, children are innocent. Those who did readily confessed to consuming gutka daily,” Swati Bhatt, a medical officer at Kalupur Urban Health Centre under the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), said.

“We ask them to take a pledge not to consume these things, and we ask parents and teachers to pay such children special attention,” added Dr Bhatt. In many cases, children pick up such habits from peers and slowly get addicted. And in most cases, parents remain clueless, Bhatt says. “We tell the kids that it might lead to severe diseases like cancer,” she said.  

A total of 889 children, aged between 5 and 14 years in civic-run primary schools, are addicted to tobacco, she said.  Dr Bhavin Solanki, in-charge medical officer of health, AMC, said the civic body will take strict action against people who sell tobacco products to kids. “We will crackdown on these people,” he noted.

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