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World No Tobacco Day: Smoke screen truths

May 31 is World No Tobacco Day. It’s another annual reminder of the dangers of lighting up, and its long-term repercussions. From Mumbai’s blueprint for the day, to startling data from city colleges, plus challenges in the advertising world of creating effective campaigns, the guide gives you the 360-degree view

Smoking
World No Tobacco Day is tomorrow. After you recover from this X-ray of what you consume every time you light up, there’s more below that will make you think twice before you buy your next cigarette. Imaging/Amit Bandre. Information courtesy: empowerwellness.org

How advertising campaigns stub the butt

Important points for anti-smoking campaigns
Communication must attempt to understand its target audience and their attitude and behaviour towards the brand or category and create stimulus to influence that behaviour to more desirable behaviour. Good advertising is all about changing human behaviour and creativity is all about understanding the triggers and motivations or venerability to affect change of behaviour. Public Interest advertising is no different.


An Ogilvy & Mather campaign for Cancer Patients Aid Association that involved  several corporate houses’ smoker rooms. The ceiling of these smoking designated areas was done up as a graveyard scene where when the smokers would look up at the image on the ceiling, they’d see themselves getting buried in a grave.


The Cancer Patients Aid Association is known for extremely effective campaigns. Last year they had organised a photography competition for the city youth that took pictures of hospitals and city smokers conveying the message that tobacco kills, thus, getting discouraged themselves.

Dos and don’ts
>> By asking people to quit or scaring them with death will not persuade them to change their behaviour.
>> Shallow thinking will not help.
>> It’s important to have insights into a smoker’s life.
>> Negative messages have never worked; in fact, they often tend to encourage people to do more of it.
>> To many, ‘Don’t Dos’ mean do more.

Impact of anti-smoking advertising campaigns
They can work provided if you were to have an understanding of human behaviour towards the issue and can find a deeper insight into how to connect with smokers. The Balbir Pasha for HIV Aids campaign is a case in point. The deeper insight of it that it does not happen to me but can happen to someone who does not take protective measures, was a fabulous insight, which lead to the creation of a fictitious character called ‘Balbir Pasha’. Most of the anti-smoking work in India is preachy and direct, and fails to connect with smokers.
— KV Sridhar, Chief Creative Officer India, SapientNitro

Mumbai will lead the fight on May 31

Message in your dabba
This No Tobacco day, Bajaj Electricals has planned a unique way to promote a ‘Tobacco Free India’ campaign. They have joined hands with Salaam Bombay Foundation and dabbawalas to spread awareness.

Mumbai dabbawala
Pic/Shadab Khan

To tap thousands of employees, from corporates to the labourers, a line “Light up your life, not a cigarette” will be printed, punched and attached to each dabba, which will circulate in many offices through lunch dabbas. Six locations: Churchgate, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Marine Lines, Charni Road, Grant Road, Dadar, Bandra and Andheri, have been chosen for this activity.



“We hope to use the positive stories of those that have given up tobacco consumption as an impetus for others to quit as well. We are honoured to be associated with The Salaam Bombay Foundation on this day and hope to bring about a positive change in our community,” says Shekhar  Bajaj, Chairman & Managing Director, Bajaj Electricals.

Take the BEST route
Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) in association with Arvind Dudhwadkar, chairman of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) on the occasion of No Tobacco Day will be declaring a “Tobacco Free BEST”.

BEST bus
BEST bus
Pic/Pradeep Dhivar


Actor Vivek Oberoi, Ambassador of Cancer Patients Aid Association, cricketer Vinod Kambli, actress Neetu Chandra  and YK Sapru, chairman-CEO of CPAA, Dr Suhasini Nagda, director of  MHME, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai along with general manager of BEST, Om Prakash Gupta (IAS) will be present at the occasion. The campaign will start at BEST Colaba Auditorium.

BEST bus
Pic/ Atul Kamble

Anita Peter, director of CPAA, informs, “Most BEST employees indulge in tobacco consumption while having the other hand on the wheel, which causes distraction and puts passengers’ lives in danger.” Plans to paste stickers at every seat in BEST buses as well as flashing health messages on the LED screen are on the cards.

Known for its innovative campaigns, Peter also mentions that they aim to carry a mock-funeral procession, demonstrating how people die due to smoking. By the end of the procession, the people involved will put up a street play and an exhibition along with offering free ENT and dental check-ups to spread the anti-tobacco message.

Mumbai’s colleges are lighting it up
A survey was conducted by the CPAA to trace cigarette smoking patterns across 1,500 college students in Mumbai

The colleges approached were the following
St Xavier’s College: Dhobi Talao
Jai Hind College: Churchgate
Sophia College: Peddar Road
Ramnarain Ruia College: Matunga (Central)
Ruparel College: Matunga
Wilson College: Marine Drive
Rizvi College: Bandra
KC College: Churchgate
Rajasthan Sewa Mandal: JB Nagar
Tolani College: Andheri (E)
Chetna College: Bandra (E)
Gokhale College: Borivali
Manjunath College: Dombivali
Lala Lajpat Rai College: Mahalakshmi
Mithibai College: Juhu
SNDT Women’s University: Juhu

1507: Total no of young adults interviewed
1037: Young men
470Young women
807/53.55%: Total number of smokers
614/59.2%: Male smokers
193/41.6%: Female smokers

Smoke in the city
There were more girls smoking in downtown Mumbai than in the suburbs. 43% of the girls interviewed in downtown Mumbai were smokers while only 18% of girls in the suburban colleges smoked. The difference in the percentage of boy smokers here was negligible.

Tobacco Terror: 10 facts you can’t ignore

01. Tobacco is the only consumer product that has no good use except causing death and disability
02. At current rates of consumption, 1 billion people will be killed in this century due to tobacco use
03. In India, there are 27.5 crore tobacco users i.e. every third Indian adult uses some form of tobacco
04. Tobacco kills every third tobacco user prematurely
05. Tobacco is responsible for nearly 50% cancers in India
06. As per WHO, tobacco addiction is a disease and every third adult Indian is suffering from a serious disease
07. 10 lakh Indians die from tobacco-related diseases each year. It kills more than suicide, AIDS, TB, accidents, homicides & malaria combined
08. Among kids (age: 13-15), 4% smoke cigarettes and nearly 12% use other tobacco products
09. Revenue from tobacco is less than loss from tobacco in form of death, disability and diseases
10. It is the number one cause of preventable death amongst youth

Source: Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Tata Memorial Centre, Parel.

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