On Thursday, visitors to various malls in the city were greeted with a message. Student volunteers from dental colleges asked them to sign up for an online petition to stop tobacco industries from participating in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
The campaign is part of a slew of activities to mark World No Tobacco Day, which falls on Saturday.
“We are trying to raise awareness about this issue and also, sensitise people to the harmful effects of tobacco,” said S. Cyril Alexander, State convenor, Tamil Nadu People’s Forum for Tobacco Control. The forum, in collaboration with the Indian Dental Association and the State Tobacco Control Cell, is organising street plays, a flash mob as well as dances and other events in the run-up to the day, he said.
By Thursday evening, 171 signatures had been collected for the campaign. “The aim of the campaign is to insist that tobacco companies stop directly contributing to CSR, as this is only another way in which they are promoted. The second aim is to ensure however, that they do contribute but indirectly and towards helping pay for the damage tobacco has caused in many lives,” Mr. Alexander said. The campaign was held at Chennai Citi Centre, Abirami Mega Mall, Ampa Skywalk, Mayajaal and Phoenix Market City.
The theme of World No Tobacco Day is to raise taxes on tobacco and ultimately, to save present and future generations from the devastating health consequences of tobacco, a press release said.