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Puffing away

NITA SATHYENDRAN
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Many techies have not yet kicked the habit of smoking

Officially, the deal at Technopark is that there is no smoking on campus. You’ve even got to shell out a fine of Rs. 200, if you are caught smoking. But there are many smokers who throw caution to the wind and steal a smoke on campus. Despite significant efforts by the authorities to enforce a blanket ban on smoking, on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day today, we find that many techies have not yet kicked the habit.

“I don’t think anyone smokes inside their offices these days. Earlier, till about the fag end of the last decade, before all anti-tobacco drives became popular, people used to smoke in the pantry areas of our companies,” says Sreejith S.

Mohan, a techie who works in Gayathri building, who still smokes, says many techies do it on the sly. “Each building, I believe, has an unofficial smokers’ area,” he adds.

In fact, talking to the techies, it seems that, unfortunately, quite a number of them think of smoking as more of a social activity than anything else. “I started smoking after I began joining my friends and colleagues on their smoke breaks,” says Rahul R., who works at a business process outsourcing firm. He states stress as an excuse to smoke the killer weed. Looks like they are still not aware of the risks they run while spending time with tobacco.

Most companies in Technopark do send out anti-tobacco circulars once in a while to their employees and there are also some organisations within the campus who are gunning for total enforcement of the ban.

On a more positive note, though, there are also those who have successfully kicked the habit of smoking. Kiran, who works for a graphics firm in Technopark, quit smoking after “it went out of control. I used to smoke a little less than a packet a day for the past four years. I calculated that I spent around Rs. 24,000 on cigarettes every year!" He’s been weaning himself off smoking using an electronic cigarette, a sort of a vapouriser that mimics the effects of the nicotine in the cigarette. Kiran says that he was able to persuade two of his colleagues, who desired to quit, to invest in an electronic cigarette.

Technopark, where many youngsters work, is considered a trendsetter in many ways. Now, if only they would also take the lead to ban tobacco in spirit and in deed.

(Some names have been changed on request)

NITA SATHYENDRAN

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