Stay away from smoking

Stay away from smoking

The pressures of adolescence are many. So are the illusory balms. Teenage is said to be the most vulnerable to bad habits, especially smoking. It is said that if one does not light a fag between 13 and 21 years, he or she might never ever smoke.
Anti-tobacco activists have now decided to beat the cigarette at its game and catch them young. Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) have realised that if they can make the teens kick the butt, their victory would be that much more reassured. They put together a rally recently where more than 50 students, of all age groups participated. It was in fact, a catharsis of sorts as the youth, most of whom were into the habit, held placards and wore tee shirts portraying travails of nicotine addiction.

There were also those in the rally who had managed to give up smoking after their first puff. Sixteen-year-old Sanjana Hariprasad had grown up watching her father smoke and lose a great deal of stamina in the bargain. But peer pressure was too much and she too took her first puff after her friends egged her on. "I never liked the smell of cigarettes and the taste was worse. I dropped the butt and never picked it up again," says Sanjana, a class ten student at Vidya Shilp. Youth like Sanjana were at the event as they thought they owed it to the boys and girls of their age. Rajat Ram, an advertising professional says that only campaigns like these help popularise and attract the young toward the ill-effects of tobacco. “It’s easy not to pick it up but it’s hard to kick the habit,” says Rajat who started smoking only recently.

 It’s chic and fashionable among the young to hold a burning butt. Even though most of the youngsters started reluctantly, they soon get hooked on to it. It not only elevated their status but made them draw eyeballs as well. But some people like Hardik Sha, working with an event management company, has stayed away from smoking. “I hang around with chain smokers but somehow they have never attempted to convert me and I haven’t tried to convert them either. It’s never been necessary to smoke, so why should I,” he asks.
 Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) is an initiative started by the students of EMDI Institute of Media and Communication, with an objective to educate students to shun smoking.

It has conducted many campaigns including a silent march, a signature campaign, a bike rally and a smoke-free party.  

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