As usually, today in the morning I was flipping the pages of my daily newspaper for the best sale in town for my boots as my brown boots are totally gone and I am in desperate need of them. So, you readers if you find any sale in your area which is attractive then please do comment me and believe me I can travel a 100 miles for good boots but not by walk . So enough of chit-chatting lets get to the real point now. While, I was going through the newspaper, my eyes suddenly paused on an advertisement issued by Voluntary Health Association of India in public interest of people conveying a message to the council of ministers viz. Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, Mr. Kamal Nath, Mr. Priyaranjan Dasmunsi, Dr. S Jaipal Reddy, Dr. Arumbani Ramadoss and Mr. Oscar Fernandes regarding the pictorial signs on tobacco products. Then I realized a conversation with my colleagues regarding smoking a cigarette.
That day, it was around seven in the evening and we were at a local get together point in downtown and suddenly one of my friend was desperate to have a cigarette and there was no shop nearby. He was so desperate that he actually borrowed it from a passerby. By seeing this enraged a long debate within the group and I think it would be interesting to present it in a dramatic style, have a look.
Friend 1 – “Nowadays the young generation like us have forgotten the etiquettes to follow in a society. The only thing left in us is how to show off and impress girls just by making rings of smoke”
Friend 2 – (By seeing a direct attack by friend 1) “Look dude we don't smoke to show off to girls, we smoke to relieve us from tension that we have in our day to day life”
Friend 1 – “I don't believe in this cock and bull stories. If you can recall the days of our school days when were tensed about our board examinations. Why didn't you smoke that time?”
Friend 2- “Those days were different. We had TV, Gaming consoles and many more things to relieve us from the stress.”
Friend 1- “Oh I think TV's and Gaming consoles are extinct from earth now and you mean to say that children have also started smoking cigarettes rather than watching TVs and playing games.”
Friend 2 – “From where the hell you got children into it, have you gone mad?”
Stranger – By seeing all this one of the passer joined us and joined the pro-smoking gang “See I appreciate that you don't smoke and know the consequences of smoking but people in today's fast moving world find various methods to relieve themselves from stress and one of them is smoking. I do agree with you that most of us nowadays smoke only to showoff.”
Then as the discussion was diluted by one of the other friend, the stranger told us how to differentiate between a serious smoker and a showoff smoker and believe me guys, I don't know about the authenticity about this thing but a serious smoker tries to keep smoke inside his body as long as possible and a showoff smoker makes rings with the smoke of cigarette. By listening to this I was amazed with his findings and got to know that serious smokers are more prone to diseases.
By recapping that discussion I kept the paper aside and logged on to the net to find out what the Government of India is doing in regard to that advertisement. What I saw was that they are planning to amend the Tobacco act of 2003 by revising the packaging rule of 2007 in which they will be showing pictorial health warning on the back side of cigarette packet which are scary and yucky.
On that other hand I also found out that this system is already introduced in many developed countries and has failed to attract much needed attention from the consumers. In one of the leading research website, I found that smokers in developed countries have developed a habit of picking the packets by preference of warnings. For example:
“I would like to have a packet that has mouth cancer picture on it”
India is also facing the same attitude from the consumers. Recently, In Andhra Pradesh, the State government tried to impose the skull picture on Beedis (South Asian cigarette). Which gave fire to the harmony of the state and we also saw opposition parties making full use of this issue to gain political mileage.
In order to save the industry, we are spending more than 30,000 crores to treat major diseases caused by tobacco which is almost four times the industry size today. This means if a cigarette costs you 3 rupees it will cost you 12 (4X3) rupees to cure the diseases caused by puffing that cigarette.
This is no more an issue which can be given a cold shoulder for the time being. I would like to have some inputs from our readers also regarding the same.
– By Sunidhi
The author has completed her graduation and is working as a Business analyst in a leading MNC. She is actively involved with various NGOs working towards awareness in the society.
Image(s) courtesy: Andrew Greig & Emma Dean