As a part of HRIDAY's (Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth) ongoing campaign against depiction of tobacco use in films, over 150 students from different schools wrote to the 31-year-old actress. They urged her to refrain from showing tobacco use in all her upcoming films including 'Heroine', which releases tomorrow.
Sohini Chakrabarty, a class 8 student, requested Kareena to exercise her power as a role model wisely. Vibhuti, another student, wrote to her that being a role model for the youth, especially girls across the country, Kareena is sending out a misleading message of experimenting with smoking on screen. Studies have proved that depiction of tobacco use in films leaves an adverse impact on the public, especially women and children and many teenagers light their first cigarette or use their first tobacco product after watching their favourite actor use tobacco on-screen.
A first of its kind study conducted by HRIDAY has found that Indian adolescents who are exposed to tobacco use in Bollywood films are twice as likely to be tobacco users. There is also a very high prevalence of tobacco use among Indian women with nearly 20 per cent of them using the substance in one form or the other. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has already issued a notification regulating the depiction of tobacco use in films.
HRIDAY had also written to 'Heroine' director Madhur Bhandarkar urging him to abide by the notification and gave reference of movies who have already complied to it. In India, high prevalence of tobacco consumption is one of the major challenges to health and about 2,700 Indians die every day from tobacco use. HRIDAY research has shown that 5,500 youth in India start using tobacco daily and a survey on tobacco use among young - the Global Youth Tobacco Survey 2009, reveals that nearly 15 per cent of youth currently use tobacco in India.