Killing the cool factor

Killing the cool factor

Helpful warnings

Killing the cool factor

It seems like the many efforts being made to bring down the use of tobacco have finally started bearing fruit.

According to recent data released by the Centre, tobacco use among adults in the country has decreased by 17 percent since 2010. Despite the growth in the population, there are eight million fewer tobacco users now, which comes as a piece of good news. Tobacco use has fallen by 54 percent in the 15 to 17 age group.

Dr Venkatachala, a surgical oncologist in the city, says that advertisements by the government warning against the use of tobacco on television, radio and cinema halls seemed to have helped immensely.

“Even the warnings on cigarette packets have influenced people to give up smoking. As of now, smoking is not allowed in closed public places like movie theatres, hotels, buses, trains and flights. However, the same should not be permitted in open spaces like roads and parks, since that smoke can cause harm to others in the vicinity and also have a bad influence on youngsters. There should be designated smoking spaces everywhere,” he says.

Venkatachala adds that there is also a regulation according to which a certain area around a cancer hospital has to be a smoke-free zone but he has seen many shops selling cigarettes and people smoking nearby. “Stricter rules in this regard can lead to a further reduction in tobacco usage.”

Dr Madhu Y C, a senior oncologist, says that there is much greater awareness now as compared to the previous years.

“Now there is a regulation in place which prohibits the sale of tobacco products within a certain distance of a school. Many states have completely banned chewable tobacco and even companies selling tobacco and related products have cut down on their ad expenses as they know people are learning their lesson faster,” he says.

“Also in movies, one doesn’t see actors smoking as often as they did earlier since filmmakers understand the negative impact it has on the younger audiences. Even if they do smoke on screen, it comes with a big warning alongside. All these moves have definitely contributed to the reduction in the use of tobacco,” he adds.

Abhishek, a student of St Joseph’s College, feels that people have matured and are wiser now. “Earlier, many thought it was cool to smoke. Now, seeing the harmful effects of tobacco, they know it’s a waste of health and money,” he opines.

“Everyone has seen ‘Mukesh’ (the character suffering from cancer shown before film screenings). The reach of advertisements is great these days and the impact is impressive. It has bothered many people at some point and triggered a positive change. One can only hope that this positive trend continues,” he adds.

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