Even as efforts are being made to wean people in all age groups from tobacco products, the focus must be on preventing the younger generation from using these, City Police Commissioner C. Sylendra Babu said here on Monday.

Spreading greater awareness alone would help in achieving this, he said after flagging off a campaign van of Sri Ramakrishna Institute of Oncology and Research as part of the World Anti-tobacco Day. Managing Trustee of SNR Sons Charitable Trust C. Soundaraj and Director of the institute P. Guhan were present.

The Hindu, Savithri Photo House and the City Branch of the Indian Dental Association teamed up with the institute in the awareness drive.

The campaign vehicle had a model of a pair of lungs with a cigarette burning a hole in it. This was to point out to the public how much damage smoking could inflict on the lungs.

The Commissioner took the audience at the launch on a trip through various phases of tobacco's growth and the consequent degradation of human health.

“After alcohol, tobacco was used as an anaesthetic. Then, people started making cigarettes using tobacco during the civil war in the United States. It then became a status symbol. Now, it is a well-known cause for cancer,” the Commissioner said.

Mr. Babu welcomed the ban on smoking in public and on scenes in films in which actors smoked.

Passive smokers

Even those who did not have the habit of smoking became passive smokers because some others in the family smoked at home. The Commissioner said 54 million people died every year across the world owing to eight types of cancer. Of these, six types were caused by the use of tobacco.

Dr. Guhan said 2,200 people died every year in India because of cancer caused by tobacco.

This called for sustaining the awareness drive.

Dr. Guhan said after the campaign launch that the van with the model of damaged lungs would go around the city and also to rural areas on Monday and Tuesday.

Tuners Inc Custom designed the lungs, depicting clearly the damage caused by smoking, the doctor said. This was an effective way to draw the attention of the people to the dangers of tobacco.

The Hindu and Savithri Photo House carried out the awareness drive on Avanashi Road (up to Hope College), Raja Street- Oppanakara Street junction, Mettupalayam Road-NSR Road Junction, D.B. Road-Thiruvenkatasamy Road Junction, Gandhipuram-Cross Cut Road Junction, Ramanthapuram Junction and Ukkadam.

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