Today is May 31- World No Tobacco Day, a stark reminder the world over to raise our voice against the killer tobacco and save lives and humanity at large.
The world has been grappling with the menace of tobacco-related deaths since years. The alarming figure of deaths due to tobacco-related diseases prompted WHO to observe May 31 as World No Tobacco Day. Consumption of tobacco and its derivatives causes more than six million deaths worldwide and passive consumption kills another good numbers, according to a survey.
World No Tobacco Day aims to encourage people to quit tobacco and begin a new life. Although it’s just another day of the year, observing the day and spreading awareness may act as a catalyst for change which one hopes to see.
In India alone, tobacco kills more than one million people. The most commonly used form of tobacco in India is khaini and bidi. The high rate in consumption of these two derivatives is due to their relatively cheaper rates and easy availability.
Generally, the first intake of tobacco is attributed to influence from peer group mostly during the teen years while for some the reason is their enormous psychological stress.
The major constituent of tobacco is a chemical known as Nicotine which easily gets absorbed into the blood. Nicotine is believed to induce instant ecstasy on cognitive functions of the brains but also fades away very fast, thereby making the user carve for higher dosages. In due course of time the body adopts to a certain nicotine level and then the user tries to sustain that level to remain comfortable or face consequences like irritation, lungs problem, etc. Once addicted to tobacco it becomes extremely difficult to quit.
Yes, there have been genuine efforts to increase awareness on the ill effects of tobacco like -
- Smoking ban at public places.
- Statutory warnings and images on tobacco products.
- Tobacco free schools.
- Warmings on smoking scenes in promotional advertisements, movies, soaps & serials.
- Higher taxes on tobacco-related items.
However, we as citizens are equally responsible for providing clean environment to our future generations. Children of today are youth of tomorrow, therefore they play a significant role in shaping the society. They must be educated from their initial schooling days on the ill effects of tobacco so that when they grow up they don’t become prey to this menace. But the irony of the matter is, whichever socio-economic class one belongs to, each one is equally informed on the perils of tobacco and denounce it vehemently, but some way or the other finds an excuse for themselves.