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BBC World Investigates Why India is the Oral Cancer Capital of the World

December 01, 2011


BBC World's innovative series The Health Show will broadcast a report this weekend examining India's daunting problem of tobacco use among children and its shocking consequences for health.

Young people in India commonly use gutka, a carcinogenic cocktail of flavored smokeless tobacco and additives. Extremely cheap and easily purchased by children and teenagers, an estimated 5 million kids are addicted to the product. It's responsible for 90 percent of oral cancer cases in India.

The BBC story, shot on location in Mumbai, includes interviews with doctors who are treating teenagers with advanced cancers. One million people die from tobacco use each year in India - the oral cancer capital of the world. Though sales of gutka to kids are prohibited, the ban is not rigorously enforced, and the government is only now beginning to take action.

The BBC show will be aired in the U.S. at 3:10 pm EST on Saturday, December 3; 1:10 am and 12:10 pm on Sunday, December 4; and 4:10 am. on Monday, December 5.

Read more about India's gutka problem.