Stubbing out the habit

Stubbing out the habit

Courting Danger

Stubbing out the habit

Going by this logic, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, has introduced stronger pictorial warnings on the packages of both smoking and chewing forms of tobacco.

These pictures, which graphically depict advanced stages of oral and lung cancer, are to be released starting December 1, but their effectiveness in convincing smokers to finally quit is still being debated. Metrolife speaks to a few smokers and non-smokers to find out whether they think these pictorial warnings will make a difference.

Romyza, who is completing her MBBS at St John’s Medical College, feels very strongly about this subject because both her father and brother are regular smokers. “I have tried to warn them about the effect this will have on their health and the family environment, but it makes no difference,” she says.

But Romyza doesn’t believe that placing pictorial warnings on cigarette packets will have much of an impact on an addict. “Everyone knows that smoking is harmful. It is publicised on television and other media forums. But once a person is addicted, he or she can’t control this habit,” she says. She adds that putting larger or more graphic pictures on cigarette packages aren’t definite solution to the problem either, because quitting smoking, which takes a lot of effort and determination, is a personal decision.

Mahesh Kumar, who owns a paan shop near Brigade Road, claims that printing graphic pictures on cigarette packages don’t make a difference to an addicted smoker. Despite the pictorial warnings, albeit blurry and unclear, which have been placed on packages for a while now, he says he has witnessed no drop in sales.

“These pictures are there on all tobacco products but people don’t stop buying them. Putting a bigger or clearer picture won’t make a difference as the existing picture is already quite large and covers about half the pack,” he says.

Most regular smokers agree with this logic as well. R K Singh, a retired employee who smokes daily, says that these pictures have become too common and have no effect on him anymore.

“If a man is addicted to smoking, he needs to make up his own mind to quit. Putting bigger pictures will not effect him at all,” he says. He adds that possibly, the one factor that makes him question his habit is when he sees the problems his friends and family face because of it. “It’s a threat to their life. When smokers see such serious cases, they are shocked and this could possibly make them change their mind about smoking,” he says.