When we go to theatres, the add against smoking plays out religiously before the movie begins. It covers real life stories of the victims of tobacco. One such story was of Mukesh Harane, a 24-year-old who died due to cancer because of his addiction to chewing tobacco.
Mukesh is not the only one and sadly won’t be the last victim of tobacco consumption and its evil. According to WHO more than 8 million people die due to tobacco use every year. The tobacco industry invests more than USD 9 billion to advertise their products and may have also found ways to interest young children. So, this year WHO came back on the World No Tobacco Day with a campaign focusing on children and youth as they have aptly said in their statement, ‘If your product killed 8 million people each year, you’d also target new generation.’
And this statement has rung true with the statistics being that over 40 million young people between the age of 13-15 have already started to use tobacco. In India, the mean age when people start smoking is 18.7 years. About 28.6% (15 and above) of the total population consume tobacco, and around 20% (13-15) consume tobacco in any form and more than 10 million people die in India due to tobacco consumption.
These statistics are a simple caution for us to take the consequences of tobacco more seriously. WHO has collaborated with social media influencers to reach out to Gen Z in its effort to make them more aware about tobacco and its consumption, starting a hashtag that says #TobaccoExposed . With their heart and idea at the right place WHO has started a moment against Tobacco that they initiated in 1987 and with a little effort, a little fight from us and our government, we might even see it through.