Monday, May 31, 2010

World No Tobacco Day 2010

Controlling the epidemic of tobacco among women is an important part of any comprehensive tobacco control strategy. World No Tobacco Day 2010 will be designed to draw particular attention to the harmful effects of tobacco marketing towards women and girls. It will also highlight the need for the nearly 170 Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to ban all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in accordance with their constitutions or constitutional principles.

Women comprise about 20% of the world's more than 1 billion smokers. However, the epidemic of tobacco use among women is increasing in some countries. Women are a major target of opportunity for the tobacco industry, which needs to recruit new users to replace the nearly half of current users who will die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases.

Especially troubling is the rising prevalence of tobacco use among girls. The new WHO report, Women and health: today's evidence, tomorrow's agenda, points to evidence that tobacco advertising increasingly targets girls. Data from 151 countries show that about 7% of adolescent girls smoke cigarettes as opposed to 12% of adolescent boys. In some countries, almost as many girls smoke as boys.

Below is the article which was published in TOI Pune column.. on this day.. 

They have successfully kicked the butt, and now encourage others to do so. These former smokers advocate some straightforward principles to quit cigarettes: a tough mind, self-control and firm faith.

Doing away with the perceived glamour factor attached to smoking is very important, believes Amit G. After being a heavy smoker for 15 years, Amit gave up the habit in 2008. "I used to think the whole world smokes and that there's a certain status symbol attached to it. This naivet? led me to helpless, compulsive, obsessive smoking. I even suffered from frequent bouts of throat infection," says the marketing professional.

The maxim one day at a time' helped him take fledgling steps towards quitting. "I used to smoke two packets a day. Then I began reducing the number of the cigarettes each day. Having discontinued the habit, I now feel disturbed at the mere sight of people smoking," he states.

Amit's friend, who overcame a 15-year-old smoking habit around a decade back, says all it takes is self-control and a tough mind. "Once I decided to quit, I didn't look back. It's not easy, but one has to do it to get out of the rut. Now I enjoy better sleep, a good appetite and a healthier family life," he says, on the condition of anonymity.

Recognising one's addiction is the crucial first step, says Anil P, who gave up smoking ten years ago. A member of Nicotine Anonymous (which is part of Alcoholics Anonymous in Pune), he underwent therapy and counselling to give up his 20-year-old practise of smoking and chewing tobacco. "I always knew the ill-effects of tobacco and smoking, but the ego came in between. It didn't allow me to acknowledge that I was suffering from this addiction. I suffered from fibroids in the mouth and was hospitalised for lack of oxygen due to lung infection. That prompted me to seek help; and once I began my therapy at Nicotine Anonymous, I chose not to look back," he says.

Members of Nicotine Anonymous meet every Saturday at Father Barco Hall, next to St Vincent's School, Pune Camp, between 7 pm and 8 pm.

Constant communication with peers, sharing one's experiences without guilt, accepting other addicts and firm faith helped Anil. "Faith plays a huge role in one's recovery. It's the power of the Almighty that has been protected me from the addiction."

His friend, Padmakar (name changed), helped two of his friends rid themselves of the habit. "I smoked for 20 years and then gave up the nicotine stick eight years ago. What helped me was the belief: I don't know what will happen tomorrow, but today I won't smoke. Now, I often ask smokers to call me up before lighting up. I empathise with people who are tempted to smoke. I ask them to have orange juice or water, which are effective antidotes. Just chatting with smokers at crucial moments also makes all the difference," he stresses.

Just hope people stop smoking for the better of themselves and their loved ones.. 

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