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World No Tobacco Day: Put out the butt before it puts you out!

On World No Tobacco Day today, we find out whether the law banning public smoking has made a substantial difference or not…

If the otherwise positive phrase ‘Chhota packet, bada dhamaka’ was to be used for a negative connotation; describing a tobacco product sachet may be a good idea. Everyone’s aware of what that small white stick is capable of doing before reducing itself to ashes. The same was noticeably realized by our government around 2008, which resulted in an enforcement of a law prohibiting smoking in public places. And as we observe the World No Tobacco Day, we try to find out how far the law has made the difference so far as tobbaco consumption is concerned.
“If not major, it certainly made some difference,” believes Aakarsha Pandey, a pharmacy student, who adds, “It was easy for smokers earlier to pull out a cigarette whenever and wherever they wanted. But now after the enforcement of the law, it has become an added effort to get up from where they are sitting and find a safe area before lighting a cigarette. I also feel majority are aware about this law, which adds to the whole effect.” Though Soumyaa Harsha, who is pursing her CA, doesn’t agree with this wholeheartedly. “The picture is not very different,” she says, “We see so many people smoking on the road. This law also, like many others, is not implemented effectively. I doubt how many passive smokers will speak up for their rights.”
Sociologist Gaurang Jani half-agrees with Soumyaa, when he says, “The implementation and awareness of the law is predictably poor.” He adds, “Still, I would say it has made a significant difference. A tighter enforcement of the law will check smoking as a habit. But if we talk about chewing tobacco; there has been no change in the scenario. On the contrary, I can tell you that the number has increased.”
Hardatt Trivedi, a communication student, shares his own tale admitting that now his cigarette pack lasts longer than earlier. “The ban has come as a watchdog for us,” he says, adding, “Now you don’t see people smoking in cinema halls or auditoriums; and people will turn back and tell you to stop smoking in buses. I feel, it also keeps a check on those youngsters (read beginners) wanting to light up one.”
Taking a holistic look, Kinner Shah, senior oncologist who has been actively involved in anti-tobacco campaigns says, “The law has definitely brought about positive changes. However even today, we find shops selling tobacco products right next to schools. We have to deal with this grey area. Surrogate tobacco consumption advertisement is much happening on television, radio and other mediums. Stronger health warning labels can go a long way in curbing tobacco consumption. We need to start aggressive awareness campaigns about the anti-tobacco law, which will curb tobacco consumption.”
Let’s hope, the coming days will see us as a nation gearing up to kick the butt.

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Posted by on May 31 2012. Filed under Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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