Today is World No Tobacco Day (WNTD); a day observed the world over to snuff out an addiction that is killing hundreds and maiming many. The World Health Organisation says that tobacco use snatches away nearly six million lives globally each year. The theme adopted for this WNTD is ‘ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship’. MetroPlus spoke to a cross-section of people to elicit their views on banning tobacco advertising and tobacco abuse among youngsters.

Arjun P., Chief of Pulmonary Medicine, KIMS Hospital

Ban tobacco advertising

Ban on tobacco advertising is as important as other tobacco control measures including increasing taxes, setting up smoking cessation clinics, banning public smoking or putting up health warnings. Tobacco use is a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of death; it causes cancers, heart diseases and lung conditions such as smokers’ bronchitis. Unfortunately, six lakh of the total global deaths is among non-smokers due to second-hand smoking.

Smoking among youngsters

Peer pressure and smoking habits among parents are significant inducements to youngsters. Sadly, there there are no periodic surveys to check the status of tobacco use.

Ashalatha Thampuran, Executive Director, Mohandas College of Engineering and Technology

Ban tobacco advertising

Popular media should be used to disseminate information on the harms of tobacco products. Youngsters of today have an experimenting and questioning attitude, and any forced messaging might tempt them to try out these products. Awareness messages should be packaged with content that youngsters like to see and hear, and should be repeated at frequent intervals. Awareness is best given through audio and visual media, especially the FM Radio, which has a huge following among the youth. Such messages will register in their sub-conscious mind and lead them to keep away from tobacco products.

Smoking among youngsters

Tobacco consumption amongst youngsters has become less these days, I think. In schools and colleges, awareness among youth to explain the bad effects of smoking and chewing tobacco are to be conducted on a regular basis. Youth should realise the physical and mental concerns that they will face by tobacco consumption.

Gopinath Muthukad, ace magician

Ban tobacco advertising

Advertisements and movies mislead children into believing that smoking is an entertaining, enjoyable or a tension reliever.

Smoking among children

I have devoted a permanent slot for spreading message against tobacco and other hallucinogenic substances in all my magic shows. My target audience is children, of an age when they have not even thought about smoking. In my shows, the harms of tobacco are conveyed through the narrative of an engineering student who faces the brunt of tobacco use. After every show, at least 10 parents tell me that the message will have an impact on their kids. Such messages register in their brains, the organ that also controls habits such as smoking.

Achuthsankar S. Nair, Honorary Director, Department of Bioinformatics, University of Kerala

Ban tobacco advertising

There is a need to rein in advertising practices, which contributes to 25 per cent of societal ills. In spite of limitations imposed on tobacco advertising, indirect methods are being used to lure people. Movies also tend to glorify tobacco use.

Smoking among youngsters

There is a declining trend in smoking and tobacco use among students and youngsters. It is almost absent in Karyavattom. I have not come across any notable instance of smoking among students. However, the prevalence of tobacco and such narcotics among migrant labourers and the great shift from tobacco use to drinking worries me.

REMA SUNDAR

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