As yet another World No Tobacco Day is observed on Friday (May 31), the former judge of the High Court, K. Narayana Kurup, is a proud man, for he has achieved yet another milestone in his unrelenting war on tobacco.

All school students in the age group of 12 to 16 years in CBSE schools across the State are now taking a daily pledge in their school assembly that they will abstain from tobacco use and they will lead the battle against tobacco.

It was in February that Mr. Kurup wrote a letter to Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor suggesting that schoolchildren may be roped in for the fight against tobacco by making them take a daily pledge to shun tobacco in the school assembly.

The Ministry had written to the CBSE chairman on February 19, endorsing the suggestion and directing him to take up the matter favourably.

Following this, the CBSE issued the notification on March 13, advising all schools affiliated to it that children in the 12-16 year age group be allowed to take the anti-tobacco pledge in the special anti-tobacco assembly.

The pledge says: “I recognise tobacco as the greatest monster of all time killing millions across the globe…therefore, I pledge to abstain from the use of tobacco…I pledge to spread awareness about the hazards of tobacco…I pledge to lead a healthy tobacco-free lifestyle. I will say NO to tobacco and will help my friend say NO.”

Mr. Kurup’s crusade against tobacco is quite renowned, for it was his landmark judgment 10 years ago that resulted in the ban on tobacco smoking in public places.

His judgment had been hailed by the international community as the first ever judicial initiative in the world against passive smoking and the hazards of tobacco smoke to the environment.

Mr. Kurup told The Hindu he would be approaching Education Minister P.K. Abdu Rabb with the request that the anti-tobacco pledge be taken up by the State schools also because the anti-tobacco war should be led by the youth.