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Students flood CM's office with tobacco sachets

Reshma Ravishanker, Bengaluru: Sep 14, 2015, dhns 0:30 IST

Want ban on chewing tobacco that is sold with pan masala

Students from Mysuru and Mandya districts have been  sending tobacco sachets to the chief minister's office seeking a ban on the harmful substance. DH PHOTO
Chief minister Siddaramaiah has been receiving some gifts for the last few days. These are unlike the usual bouquets, mementoes or greetings.

Students from Mysuru and Mandya districts have been sending him sachets of chewing tobacco seeking a ban on the harmful substance.

The students have sent almost 5,000 such tobacco packs so far and aim to despatch at least one lakh sachets.

This is one of the many activities being undertaken by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the BJP’s student wing, as part of its nationwide campaign called ‘Students Against Drug’. Students at 26 colleges from Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Mandya and Hassan districts have been roped in for the campaign.

Prem, a member of the ABVP’s national council, said the campaign had a single aim: ban on chewing tobacco.

“These sachets are being sent to the chief minister’s office by post. Students will keep sending them until January next year,” he told Deccan Herald.

Tobacco sachets would also be sent to the prime minister’s office to draw his attention to the issue. Various state units of the ABVP have devised their own campaigns seeking ban on tobacco, he added.

Students are also sending postcards to the chief minister’s office voicing their opinion against chewing tobacco. “So far, 25,000 postcards have been sent.

Earlier, chewing tobacco was available in sachets that cost Rs five. Now, if people pay just a rupee more, they get a separate chewing tobacco pack along with pan masala. We want a ban on this. Just imposing a ban on gutka is not the end of it,” said Anand Bagodi, in-charge of the ABVP Mysuru division.

Dr Vishal Rao, a member of the State government’s High Power Committee for Tobacco Control, lauded the initiative and said a ban on chewing tobacco was the need of the hour. It is the youth aged between 20 and 30 who fall prey to the tactics used by tobacco manufacturing companies’ marketing guys, according to him.

More than 10 lakh deaths are estimated to occur every year due to tobacco consumption.

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