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Pictorial warnings for smokers

Everyone knows that smoking is dangerous for health, but that doesn’t stop children from trying it, and eventually getting addicted to it.
Padmaparna Ghosh has been smoking for the past two years and she has never considered quitting it. Even though the 24-year-old journalist is aware of the health risks of smoking.
However, she may be forced to reconsider her decision if a group of ministers headed by Pranab Mukherjee have their way.
The Government plans to put pictures of cancerous lungs on cigarette packets as part of it's anti-smoking campaign.
So will the pictorial warnings help Padmaparna all over again?
“I don't think it will make me quit at all. Maybe people who haven't started will consider,” says Padmaparna.
And so despite already existing statutory warnings and planned pictorial warnings, are smokers still desensitised to the fact that smoking in fact kills?
That is not the ground reality. A study by the University of Minnesota and two Indian NGOs points to an alarming trend. Children as young as 10 and 11 are beginning to smoke and consume tobacco in India.
But anti-smoking campaigners are hopeful. They say pictorial warnings have motivated at least 35 per cent consumers abroad to try and kick the habit.
Says Executive Director and Coordinator, HRIDAY-SHAN, K Srinath Reddy, “We believe that this new move will help build a healthier society. Our own young campaigners will ensure that these measures are successful.”
Out of the 4000 chemicals that enter your bloodstream when you light up, 55 are known to cause cancer.
“The health problems that people can face includes cancer and heart diseases,” says oncologist, Apollo Hospital, Dr Sameer Kaul.
So will images speak louder than words? It clearly gives greater room for thought for all of us who like to smoke away our stress.

Shrusti Jain

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