People from all walks of life gathered early Sunday morning here to voice concern against tobacco, a universal killer, and participate in a walkathon organised by Apollo Hospital, a multi-speciality hospital chain.

The event was to create awareness about cancer in the run-up to World No Tobacco Day on May 31. The participants, holding placards, gathered as early as 7.30 a.m. and urged people to give up using of all forms of tobacco.

Those enduring second-hand smoking and smokers who had realised the perils of the habit also participated in the walkathon.

World No Tobacco Day is observed every year and aims at encouraging at least a 24-hour period of abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption across the globe.

Visible symptoms

Kumaresh Krishnamurthy, Senior Consultant, Head Oncology, Apollo Hospital, said that smoking also causes a variety of visible symptoms, including yellow teeth and leathery skin.

He reiterated that more dangerous were symptoms that cannot be seen, such as increase in the risk of many cancers, respiratory diseases, and heart disease.

“I appeal to every smoker to quit smoking and see how his/ her health improves dramatically,” Mr. Krishnamurthy said.

Doctors' initiative

The message is loud and clear on all tobacco products that the use of tobacco in any form is injurious to health. Even so, worldwide, millions of people every year succumb to tobacco-related heart and lung diseases or cancer.

As part of World No Tobacco Day, doctors from around the city have taken up a unique initiative, Freedom from Tobacco: Bengaluru Unites, at the Freedom Park on May 31.

The event is to create awareness among tobacco users, the general public, and yes, doctors also, on the dangers of tobacco consumption.

Oncologist Vishal Rao, who is organising the event, said that being a cancer surgeon, he feels he would be of better service if he could spread awareness on the issue than be in a situation where a cure was needed. “With skyrocketing medical costs, it is better to follow the adage of prevention is better than cure,” he said.

The event will have poster presentations by the medical fraternity on tobacco awareness, individual counselling sessions for tobacco users and will also feature live music performances by various artistes.

The event is on May 31 at the Freedom Park, Gandhinagar, from 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Call 9739774949.

Keywords: cancertobacco use