The Health Minister of Rajasthan on Friday has stirred a controversy by claiming that tobacco and cancer are unrelated. Following which the health activists have demanded his resignation.
While addressing a programme in Jaipur to mark World Cancer Day, Rajasthan health minister Parsadi Lal Meena said that said tobacco is not the only reason behind cancer because there are people who consume tobacco or smoke but do not get cancer. The minister cited an example of people in villages who would live till 100 years even after consuming tobacco.
“Cancer can happen to anybody and it is not related to tobacco or beedi. I live in a village and I have witnessed people who use tobacco up to 20 times a day, smoke cigarettes and beedis. They never get cancer and live for over 80-100 years", the Prasadi Lal Meena, also the six-time MLA from Lalsot constituency in Rajasthan said on Friday.
He went on saying, "That even those who don't take tobacco have cancer. Even in cities, people have cancer, despite no one consuming tobacco. Cancer is not related to tobacco and beedi, it happens from food habits and lifestyle. Cancer can happen to anyone and it is for the doctors to describe the causes in detail.” The minister was replying to a query about the government’s efforts to curb the use of tobacco after addressing a seminar on World Cancer Day here.
The statement has irked some activists and demanded the minister's resignation after the video went viral on social media.
#Rajasthan health minister says that Tobacco & cancer are not related.— Tabeenah Anjum (@TabeenahAnjum) February 4, 2022
Says, "There are people in villages who consume regularly but don't have cancer and live for 100 years".
Slow claps 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/HhGYIRb5d7
"This is an irresponsible statement by a health minister and we demand that he either withdraws his statement immediately or resigns from his post,” Jan Swasthya Abhiyan Rajasthan, an NGO working in the field of health said in a statement.
Earlier the minister said that cancer was detected in 278 patients during a screening of 4,000 persons done by 'Early Detection Vans' in the last two months in the Rajasthan organised in the Panchayat level for early detection and treatment of cancer in the state. Meena was given charge of the health department in November 2021 in the cabinet reshuffle.