Sunday, 13 January 2008

Kick the butt, you asses!

I was slightly early, one winter afternoon, when I went pick up my 7-year old from school. I decided to sit inside my car and wait it out. As I was aimlessly gazing out of my window, I spotted a very young, well-heeled and good looking couple sitting inside a swanky car. Both were puffing on and passing on the same cigarette to one another. I would have looked away, but the sheer good looks of the couple kept my eyes rivetted. It set me thinking about how close they must be and it looked sooo romantic to see a young, good looking couple, sharing a leisurely smoke together.

But suddenly, my rose tinted spectacles cracked, precisely when the couple, hearing the school gong got out of the car holding a sleeping baby which must not be more than 6-7 months old.

I literally had to stop myself from assaulting the pair! How irresponsible can one get?
They must be going to pick up the older child which must be in junior school. Seriously, some people needed to take parenting lessons and the hazards of passive smoking!

Active and passive smoking have become India's growing menace. But help maybe at hand, when after May 31, all workplaces become smokefree zones. But what does one do to educate people inside their houses and cars?

I paste a news clipping from the Hindustan Times on the new work place rule:

Almost the whole of the country will become a no-smoking zone by May 31 if the health ministry, led by Anbumani Ramadoss, has its way.
Homes and designated smoking areas at airports and restaurants will be the only places where one can have a smoke once the government introduces the ‘Smoke-free Workplace Rules.’ Once that happens, India will join the list of countries most intolerant towards smoking.
“The Tobacco Control Act only allows smoking and tobacco-use in designated smoking areas at airports and restaurants seating over 30 people. Once the rules are introduced, these will be the only public places where people will be able to smoke,” says Health Minister Ramadoss, speaking to HT from London.
France and Germany have banned smoking in public places — including bars and cafes — from January 1 this year, following the UK which introduced a similar ban in July 2006.
While individual law-breakers will be fined Rs 200, institutions and organisations allowing people to smoke will have to cough up fines as high as Rs 10,000. “About 10 million children under the age of 15 are addicted to tobacco in India, with 5,500 starting tobacco use every day. Before they realise its dangers, they get addicted to it,” says Ramadoss.
Graphic warnings with pictures of diseased lungs and dying babies on cigarette and tobacco packs were intended to do just that, but will now be muted down. A high-level Group of Ministers including Pranab Mukherjee, Priyaranjan Das Munsi, Oscar Fernandes, Kamal Nath, Jaipal Reddy and Ramadoss set up to examine the “merits and demerits” of pictorial warnings found them to be “inappropriate.”
“The tobacco industry needs new consumers and heavily market to the youth, with 10 per cent Mumbai schoolchildren reporting they were offered free tobacco samples and 20 per cent saying they owned a tobacco brand,” says Dr Prakash C. Gupa, Director of the Mumbai-based Healis-Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health.
One in five adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 years consume some form of tobacco in India, with 15.6 per cent of them smoking cigarettes.

Smokers, be warned! Your time starts now.....


MUSER said...

How could the smart young couple subject their little baby to those noxious fumes?
Actually, Indian public is not really very aware of the dangers of smoking, be it active or passive and the government has done precious little to educate people about its hazards.The statutory warning on the cigarette packs is written in such a small font that it tends to miss the eye.It would be great if the 'no smoking in offices' ban is really enforced.
On a recent trip to Europe, I had picked up a large pack of foreign cigarettes to gift to someone who had asked me to get from there.The large skull pictures and statutory warning in bold black letters pasted all over the pack alarmed me so much that I dropped it like a hot brick.I shuddered and realised that I just couldn't bring myself to gift poison to my friend. This is the kind of deterrent that must be ensured in India to enable people to quit smoking voluntarily. But no, our powers that be, for obvious reasons, prefer to toe the line of the rich and powerful tobacco lobby.

mumkool said...

"Kick the butt or kick the bucket.... the choice is yours"
How's this slogan for an anti- smoking banner?

honestinjun said...

Very well said. You could look for alternative employment as copywriter. Tobacco lobby needs to be vanquished as it is public enemy No 1.