The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Cancer Patients’ Aid Association (CPAA) will observe World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2012 to do away with the misconception that smoking is 'cool', according to a DNA report.
According to a World Health Organization study, around 76 percent of all Indian films portray tobacco consumption, with some of the biggest names in Bollywood promoting the trend. Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi, the Ambassador for WHO’s anti-smoking movement, said that such images influence young fans to take up smoking.
“The main focus will be on creating awareness about the ill-effects of tobacco. We are also hoping to highlight and influence tobacco control activities as well as raise funds for cancer patients,” he added. ‘Tobacco Industry Interference’, this year’s theme, will focus on the tobacco industry’s 'tactics to shape and influence tobacco control policy'.
Anita Peter, Director of CPAA opined: "One of the main grouses we have against the tobacco industry is that it injects large philanthropic contribution into social programmes worldwide to create a positive public image under the guise of corporate social responsibility". Anti-tobacco activists agree in tandems that the tobacco industry’s advertising, marketing and promotion efforts influence smoking among adolescents, often to a greater extent than among adults.
Mumbai will be host to a musical show, a flash mob, and a signature campaign in the coming days, and will bring together celebrities, corporate houses and the youth to fight the menace of tobacco consumption, noted the report. Activists hope that the campaign will attract the attention of the media and of policy makers who in turn can influence the need for regulation on tobacco product placement in films and advertisements, added the report.