Say no to unhealthy habits

Say no to unhealthy habits

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He tried his first cigarette around the age of 12, and apart from an attempt to quit for around three months when he was 16, has been smoking regularly since. “My parents have an idea that I smoke, but they think I’ve quit now,” says Sam.

In fact, not many students are secretive about the fact that they drink and smoke anymore, partly, because they don’t need to be. It has become exceedingly common to frequent the neighbourhood pub after college, with several students grouping around the entrances and puffing at cigarettes between drinks. Although they generally don’t inform their parents of these ‘activities’, they aren’t shy to admit it to their friends.

Not all college students, though, are as indifferent to the growing number of their friends who smoke and drink. Kritika, who has just completed her BA, says that it distresses her that so many of her close friends smoke.

“They generally start with a casual smoke while drinking, and then become hooked. I think many college students do it just to have a sense of identity,” she says, regretfully.

When asked whether she has ever tried to stop one of her friends from smoking, Kritika admits that she has never made a direct attempt, but has informed them about the ill-effects of smoking. “I don’t have a say in anyone’s personal life, but if the friend in question happens to be very close to me, I would definitely try and urge them to quit,” she says.

Although Kritika’s anxiety is justified, a lot of youngsters in the City also feel that the right to smoke and drink is solely one’s personal choice, irrespective of their age. Ashwin, a professional, believes that setting an age-limit for people to be served alcohol at bars doesn’t make sense

‘Who determines what the right age is to start drinking and smoking?’ he asks. “There is no scientific age-limit for either of the two, and it is completely an individual choice.” However, he admits that sometimes, college kids get involved in these activities because of misinformation and peer pressure.

“A lot of kids these days think it’s necessary to drink and smoke to be considered ‘cool’ in a crowd. And this leads to a lot of accidents that could otherwise be avoided,” he says. Ashish Kothari, who is the president of the Association of Bars and Restaurants, Pubs & Hotels, has a very strict view on underage drinking. He owns Le Rock Cafe, on Brigade Road, and says here, alcohol is never served to students below the legal age limit.

“Although, we cannot prevent underage customers from entering Le Rock, they are not served any alcohol,” he says.

“We have a security guard at the door, a senior captain on duty at all times, and in the evening, we have managers and guest relation executives who ensure that alcohol is not served to anyone below the age of 18,” he adds.

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