Yesterday, my first patient was a 55 year old Bidi smoker. He said he’d been smoking ever since he’d been in school, right from his childhood.
On examining his mouth, the following things were observed –
– Development of tobacco-related oral mucosal lesion inside his cheeks
– Erythroplakia [Red leukoplakia], an Oral Pre-Cancerous condition
– Oral Leukoplakia on left side of cheek (Buccal Mucosa)
– Abnormal angle of mouth (Inflammatory lesions on both angles of mouth)
These conditions have been seen to graduate to full blown cancer.
The gentleman boasted that he did not smoke Cigarettes or consumed any other form of Smokeless Tobacco, but was unaware of the fact that Bidi (Tobacco wrapped in a Tendu leaf) smoking is as, if not more, harmful in causing a serious harm to one’s oral, overall health. He was made aware of the lesions and encouraged to kick the habit. He seemed pretty convinced.
Bidis are consumed by millions of people in India & it is a great misfortune that it is ignored by the media. What adds to the sales of these Bidis is the lucrative packaging which is done by the manufacturers to lure the rural consumers.