Children urge residents to kick the butt

Ahead of World No-Tobacco Day on May 31, schoolchildren and members of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) held a protest rally outside the office of a cigarette manufacturing company here on Saturday to protest tobacco sale among children.

Nearly 7 lakh people die every year due to consumption of tobacco products.

“The idea is to draw the government’s attention to the cigarette manufacturers’ lobby against whom it stands weak when it comes to stronger pictorial warnings on cigarette packets and the warning message that is ineffective,” said Pankaj Sharma from the NGO, Centre for Transforming India.

 “The pictorial warnings on cigarette packets are almost invisible, and the elite manufacturers place warnings in English which is again ignored by most smokers,” added Sharma.

The rally saw participation from over 100 children and school teachers who had gathered outside the office of Indian Tobacco Company (ITC).

According to the guidelines issued to educational institutions by the Delhi High Court, schools and colleges must take steps to prohibit sale of tobacco products inside the premises of the institutions. They must display signs on the main gate and on boundary walls and ban smoking or chewing of tobacco or tobacco products inside the campus.

A dummy cigarette of ten-foot height was also set up and people were told about the hazardous effects of smoking. Pankaj Sharma, chief trustee of the NGO, said that for every rupee earned by the tobacco industry, the government has to spend R5 on health care, besides several lives lost.

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