Picture Saves a Thousand Bud?

World No tobacco day is on 31st may. Given the alarming rise in statistics WHO strengthens its defenses in the fight against tobacco with newer and in your face mechanisims.
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The World’s biggest public smoking ban came into effect from the 2nd of October 2008. It came as a boon for non smokers, especially children, in public places and a blessing in disguise for smokers. Thanks to the then Minister of Health Anbumani Ramadoss. Well like most other rules and regulations in the country the definitions of the ban were and are obscure, and most citizen suspect that it’s left that way for a reason.

World No Tobacco Day is observed around the world every year on May 31. The member states of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987. It draws global attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and to its negative health effects. The day aims to reduce the 5.4 million yearly deaths from tobacco related health problems.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) selects “Tobacco Health Warnings” as the theme for this year’s World No Tobacco Day, which is tomorrow. Tobacco health warnings appearing on packs of cigarettes are among the strongest defenses against the global epidemic of tobacco. WHO particularly approves oftobaccopub.nethealth warnings that contain both pictures and words because they are the most effective at convincing people to quit. Such pictorial warnings appear in more than a dozen countries. On World No Tobacco Day 2009, and throughout the following year, WHO will encourage governments to adopt tobacco health warnings that meet all the criteria for maximal effectiveness, including that they cover more than half of the pack, appear on both the front and back of the pack and contain pictures.

“Yes the gory images might irk me but given the addiction I might just stop buying packs and get loose cigarettes from now on.” says Sashi, a call centre employee.

The smoking Ban in India and particularly in our city has been effective in certain respects especially in regards to restaurants, pubs and bars, where it is being enforced to a large extent. But, as for smoking in ‘Public’ spaces or places which was initially flouted today is almost a forgotten story. As for railway stations and bus stations in the city the right to clean air has been upheld but that same will not hold true for a lot of other places. “Tobacco Kills and you know it! So, why do you still go about smoking? Tobacco like guns have been designed to kill and they are doing a pretty good job, by getting you addicted! Tobacco Advertising kills you further more, by making you think you are doing a cool job!” says Ankit Poddar.

Then there is this issue of stretches of pavements outside corporate establishments, restaurants, bars and pubs being littered with an incredible amount of cigarette butts which is proving to be a nuisance. Nobody seemed to have thought about these issues before imposing a ban, neither is anybody thinking about it now as it happens. However, we must admit that the ban though not completely clearing the air of tobacco, has made a lot of public spaces safe for children and non smokers. However, most smokers seem to carve out their own cosy corner over a short period of time in most public spaces.

Considering the revenue generated from taxes levied on tobacco it is difficult to believe that the Indian government or for that matter any government would actually put an end to this evil. Cigarettes alone contribute 85 per cent to the total excise revenues collected from the tobacco industry, amounting to Rs 8,500 crore, according to the Tobacco Institute of India.

Hope the pictures would say a thousand words.

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