Happy World No Tobacco Day
In an effort to refrain from all forms of tobacco utilization/consumption for 24 hours, World No Tobacco Day is observed every year on May 31st around the globe.
Tobacco can be consumed in various different forms, including tobacco smoking, tobacco chewing, tobacco sniffing, dipping tobacco, tobacco sniffing etc. Smoking tobacco is currently the most prevailing form of tobacco consumption in the world.
It is known to be a major risk factor for heart attacks, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, strokes, mouth cancer and the list goes on. Chewing tobacco, contrary to popular belief, is just as dangerous as smoking. It is responsible for various forms of oral cancer within the population, especially within the youth. Although dipping and sniffing tobacco have not made a great impact in India, they are both known for having adverse health effects across the world.
So let us ask ourselves, why do we consume tobacco? The answer lies in peer pressure and fashion. Teenagers usually start because they are encouraged to do so by their so-called “friends”. However, due to the presence of nicotine, a highly addictive drug, children find themselves hooked to smoking after just two cigarettes.
Some people also claim that smoking helps people to fit in with the society. But is it really worth risking your life to simply “fit in”?
Statistics show that tobacco kills more people than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.
Tobacco use has also been glorified by movies and other forms of media. Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan are examples of two very popular on-screen smokers. Teenagers, who try to relate to such superstars, take up smoking in order to look “cool” or “sexy”. What they don’t know is that smoking causes bad breath, yellow teeth, lack of stamina and excessive coughing. Which one of these would you classify as “sexy”?
At present, tobacco use and tobacco users are seen as an inevitable part of society. Let’s do our best to change this.
As parents, try educating your children about the negative effects of tobacco use, especially if you yourself are a user.
Avoid using tobacco in front of your children. Teenagers need to be taught to say “NO” to their friends when they are offered a smoke. Lastly, strict laws should be implemented by shopkeepers and vendors to ask for IDs before they sell cigarettes to prevent under-aged smoking from taking place.
Do your part, and let an initiative like World No Tobacco Day see some success!