July 4, 2011
School of Medicine, Kochi
Did you know that thousands of teenagers smoke everyday? It is alarming to learn that their numbers go on increasing.
The fact is that tobacco still continues to spread its deadly tentacles in every direction.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has dedicated May 31 of every year as World No Tobacco Day to bring awareness and stop the spread of this evil.
This year also, student members of the Anti Tobacco Movement at Amrita (ATMA) observed May 31, 2011 as No Tobacco Day at the Health Sciences campus.
As active crusaders against tobacco, they shared many alarming facts.
“India is the third largest producer of tobacco in the world. It is certainly not something to be proud of. If we look at mortality rates of people who die from various diseases in our country, it is shocking to learn that about eight lakh Indians die every year from tobacco related illnesses.”
“The habit is prevalent not only among adults but also in children.”
“When you smoke, you inhale up to four thousand toxic chemicals including many potential carcinogens,” stated Dr. M. Dinesh, Professor at the Department of Radiation Oncology.
The student organizers further explained.
“The toxins contained in tobacco are the major cause for the incidence of heart diseases and lung cancers. Use of oral tobacco contributes to head and neck cancers. Active tobacco usage can cause wrinkles, dark lips, staining of the teeth and fingers.”
“Carcinogenic agents in tobacco can cause mutation and cancers in different parts of the body. Maternal smoking increases the risk of spontaneous abortion, preterm birth and intrauterine growth retardation.”
Honorable MLA, Shri. Hibi Eden who inaugurated the day’s proceedings, said, “Rather than confining the anti-tobacco campaign to a single day, we should make sure that it is an ongoing movement. Students like you should be the torchbearers.”
Indeed, Amrita students are at forefront in educating and organizing anti tobacco awareness drives. Over the past few years, they have made every attempt to reduce the incidence of smoking amongst youngsters.
On this occasion, let us contemplate on Chancellor Amma’s wise words. “Do not use intoxicants of any kind. Serve the world instead of ruining your health. The money wasted can instead be used for alleviating the suffering of humanity.”