Global Views
   Middle East & Africa
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 English Teaching
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
In The Spirit Of Freedom (from Tobacco)
Special Contribution
By Shobha Shukla
In The Spirit Of Freedom (from Tobacco)

The 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) got an official kick start on the 8th of March, at the National Centre Of Performing Arts in Mumbai. The programme started with the typical Indian invocation to Lord Ganesha and goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati (may be in keeping with the International Women's Day), to help make the conference a success for ‘more things are wrought by prayers than this world can ever dream of.' In his inaugural address, the Honourable Governor of Maharashtra, Mr SC Jamir called for specific corrective measures to save the people, especially the youngsters, from the perils of tobacco. He lamented the fact that 90% of all oral cancer cases in South East Asia are linked to tobacco consumption.

The problem is more complex in India, where tobacco is consumed not only in the form of cigarettes, but also as chewing tobacco, gutkha, paan masala, etc. It is sometimes argued by vested interests that tobacco industry provides employment to many people. But the fact is that these people always remain poor and also suffer from various diseases arising out of tobacco handling. The only ones to benefit from it are the tobacco multinationals. These companies target young men and women and lure them to smoke more and more cigarettes, driving them closer to death and disease. So it is high time that some strong measures are taken against them. The Governor appealed to sports organizations not to accept any sponsorships from tobacco companies.

Remembering the anti tobacco campaigns of his youth, he favoured the novel idea of forming 'Temperance Committees' in schools and colleges, which should deal with the negative aspects of, not only smoking, but other behavioral aberrations too. Smoking, drinking alcohol, speaking nasty words, eating and sleeping too much—all these contribute to a poor physical and mental health. He felt that the 'Thou Shalt Not Do This' diktat is bound to make the youngsters retaliate by doing 'It' still more. So it is better to say, 'Yield Not To Temptation.'

The Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, in his characteristic style, felt proud that India was one of the first countries in the world to ban smoking inside airplanes. He lauded the country's preventive health initiatives of banning smoking in public places and restricting the sale of tobacco products as positive steps in the right direction. But what is rightly required is voluntary compliance of such laws and not just the fear of fines. He blamed the tobacco industry for stalling other legislative curbs on tobacco due to their strong political/non political lobbying. As 40% of all our health problems are tobacco related and as more and more youngsters are taking to tobacco, he thought it imperative to scare the hell out of our teenagers as far as tobacco use in any form was concerned. Tobacco and alcohol are like a double jeopardy for them.

Dr. Ramadoss also wanted the film industry to behave in a more socially responsive way, by not glamorizing smoking on screen. In the past, generally villains were shown smoking, but now most of these scenes are filmed on heroes — who are venerated as role models by our glamour hungry teenagers. So the emulate them without blinking an eyelid. In fact, one study revealed that 52% of the child-smokers had their first puff after seeing their heroes smoke on the screen. He rued the fact that a silent majority of 85% (who are against smoking) is being systematically overpowered by the noisy minority of the tobacco industrialists.

Mark Twain had once said, 'India is the one land that all men desire to see.' It is this land which today has the world's largest child population of 400 million below 18 years of age. A large percentage of them are under privileged and well into the trade of buying as well as selling tobacco. Very often they are initiated into this habit by being given free samples of paan masala and gutkha. Salaam Bombay Foundation, one of the hosts of the 14th WCTOH which is headed by Padmini Somani, has impacted the lives of 1.8 million such children in a very positive way.

This conference, which has more than 2000 delegates from over 130 countries, needs to succeed to drive back the noisy minority of death peddlers. A collective spirit of the people is needed to shape actions and take decisions for a better future for our children so that they do not get lost in smoke.

Related Articles
    Writing Is on the Wall: Pictorial Health ...
    Failing on the Basics: Are We Able to Break ...
    A Bouquet of Novel Compounds: New Treatment ...
    One Size Does Not Fit All: Expanding the ...
    Tale of Two Pandemics: Follow the Science and ...
    Governments Must Adopt a Strong Political ...
    What Is the Ring?
    Disability Is Not Limited to the Body, It Is ...
    Accelerating Progress on Sexual & Reproductive ...
    Stop This Shaming of Menstruation
    Complacency Breeds Failure: Consolidate ...
    For Age Is Opportunity No Less Than Youth ...
    New Study Pegs the Number of TB Cases in India ...
    Self-stigma: Let Us Do More Than Just "Ttalk ...
    We Cannot Eliminate TB If We Leave Children ...
    MDR-TB Treatment Rgimen: Short Indeed Is ...
    A Plain Face Can Take the Sheen Out of Deadly ...
    Strike at the Root of the Problem to Kill TB
    Antibiotic Use Is Driving Antibiotic Resistance
    Big Push for Transgender and Hijra Welfare
    Where There Is a Will There Is a Way: Teeja ...
    Lung Cancer: Difficult to Diagnose, Difficult ...
    Long Road to Justice: Human Rights of Female ...
    Medical Malpractices: Is There Light at the ...
    Overcoming Roadblocks in Translating ...
    Management of Respiratory Diseases beyond ...
    Gender Justice to Be at the Heart of ...
    Connecting the Dots: Tobacco Use, Diabetes, ...
    It Is Time To Control Asthma
    Call for No More New HIV Infected Children
    Smoking Goes Electronic
    Break the Silence around Cancer
    How Can You Treat Your Illness Unless You Take ...
    Asthma Medicines Still Unaffordable for Many
    New Technique to Prevent Diabetic Lower-Limb ...
    Cycle Beads: The Bead String for Family ...
    Beware: All Forms of Tobacco Are Harmful!
    Mother's Milk Is the Best Nutrition for the ...
    Where Is The TB Quilt, Nay Mask?
    Hello, This Is Nature’s Call From Garbage ...
    Tuberculosis: Ugly Scar on Beautiful Childhood
    Towards A More Enabling Environment for ...
    What’s Cooking in Kitchen: Peace or Conflict?
    Feed Your Child Well: Prevent Pneumonia
    Costly Medicines Mean Debt or Death for People ...
    AIDS Epidemic at a Critical Juncture in ...
    Watch Your Tongue Mr. Minister!
    Free Trade Agreements: A Threat To People's ...
    In The Pursuit Of Healthy Happiness
    Empowering Rural Women
    Say Yes To Life: Say No To Tobacco
    Homophobia Is A Human Rights Issue
    Viva La Woman Power
    Rubbish Rubbish Food and Embrace Healthy ...
    Of Music and Divinity
    Wake Up Call on Childhood Obesity after Years ...
    A New Hope of Life for Our Ailing Education ...
    Reminiscences of Egypt
    Do Not Break the Nucleus
    Whispers of Sanity in the Frenzy of Madness
    Tobacco Cessation Can Piggy-back Ride on ...
    World Conference on Tobacco or Health to ...
    Requiem for Purity
    Rhapsody 2008 -- a Symphony of Different ...
    'Diabetes Doctor Is at Your Doorstep' in ...
    Activists Decry India's Deferment of Pictorial ...
    South-East Asian Diabetes Summit to Open Up in ...
    Special on Universal Children's Day
    The Wrath Of God
    World Food Scarcity and the Challenges of ...
    Victim of Terrorism -- the Common Man
    Teachers' Day: The Sacrificial Goat
    Hiroshima Day: Let Us Worship Peace and Shun ...
    Whither the Innocence of Childhood?
    Food for Thought -- on World Food Day
    Love Is the Missing Link in War-on-Terror
    Irom Sharmila: The Iron Lady
    India Poised And Shining
    Is It Just Another Day in Life of Indian Woman?
    He Has His Cake and Eats It Too
    To Be Young, to Be Married, and to Be in India
    The Mad Mad World of Ads

Other Articles by Shobha Shukla
    A Bouquet of Novel Compounds: New Treatment ...
    One Size Does Not Fit All: Expanding the ...
    Tale of Two Pandemics: Follow the Science ...
    Tale of Two Pandemics: Follow the Science ...
    Governments Must Adopt a Strong Political ...

Ms. Shobha Shukla has been teaching Physics at India's noted Loreto Convent, and has been writing for The Hindustan Times and Women's Era in the past. She serves as Editor of Citizen News Service (CNS). She can be contacted at






The Seoul Times Shinheungro 25-gil 2-6 Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange