A friend, while wishing me Happy New Year, said that he wishes to quit smoking this year. Like many others, he also started with an occasional drag which later turned into chain smoking. Well, he is not the first one to say so. Every day, we come across people who wish they never took up smoking, chewing tobacco etc.
Prakash, 43, a graduate who runs a paan shop, tells me that he’ll gouge his son’s eyes out if he longs for a cigarette or tobacco. “I wish for those white teeth that you have but I am so habituated now. I never sell these things to anyone looking younger than 18 (years-old),” declares Prakash. Unfortunately, not everyone is like him.
Like Prakash, there are many who wish to give it up, but consider it too late now. Another acquaintance tells me that she never really acknowledges the warnings written on the cigarette pack. They mean nothing to her. I wonder how people choose to ignore the warnings, thinking that it will not happen to them. It is high time we understood that smoking is not cool and chewing tobacco is not fun.
Upon talking about the warning written on these packs, my auto driver says, “Everything kills. Eventually, we all die.” Lack of awareness gives rise to such ignorance.
While smoking and other such habits are considered cool today, a great number of people are succumbing to these tastes. According to experts, “In all 50 per cent of the cancers in India are directly or indirectly related to tobacco consumption,” said Sudhir Khandelwal, head of psychiatric department of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (TOI).
Also, cigarette smoke contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Unchecked, tobacco-related deaths, around the world, from cancers, heart disease, lung diseases and stroke, among others, is expected to increase to over 8 million annually by 2030, with 1.5 million of them in India. (HT)
Kick the butt
This is such a serious issue in our country that before every movie screening in the theatres, warnings are shown. But it rings no bells with the audience, as every other day, we see people adopting such lifestyles.
National tobacco control programme, started to work towards raising more awareness about the ill-effects of tobacco use. World No Tobacco Day, a World Health Organisation initiative to increase awareness about the same is celebrated, around the world, on 31st May every year. But youth and adults alike are seen consuming tobacco in one form or other.
It is never too late to give up such toxic habits, better late than never. So, let us join hands, encourage our fellow citizens to walk towards healthier consumption habits, and towards a healthier nation.