All the Cigarette packets, sold in India, scream the Governmentally compelled negative advertisement, ” SMOKING KILLS.” How far is this advertisement legally, ethically and medically correct?
Firstly, the seller of the cigarette is compelled to state things against the very product the company/firm is selling.
Secondly, the Central Government levies Excise duty on Tobacco products and thereby benefits REVENUE-WISE from the sale of tobacco products.
Thirdly, the moment one steps into a hospital for any check-up, the first and invariable question asked is, “ARE YOU A SMOKER?” That makes the Physician’s job simpler. He now knows what to look for! He is taught in his medical school how a smoker’s lungs is clogged, how his arteries are blocked and how the tar and nicotine have spoilt his whole system. So he starts with a PFT (Pulmonary Function Test……) , a scan on all his arteries, especially of his limbs and finally a test to see the functioning of his heart! Lo and Behold! the diagnosis is that the PATIENT (the nomenclature changes the moment a minor deviation is noticed from the referral values!) HAS TO QUIT SMOKING OTHERWISE………that silence can frighten even the stout hearted!
I know that for a non-smoker, it could be quite annoying to have a smoker puffing in the vicinity and being forced to inhale those caustic and toxic fumes emanating from the nostrils of a smoker, but merely because it is annoying, should the LAWS be made so as to MALIGN any smoker? I think not. The laws should be made in such a way, so that the smokers could be provided a place, just like the SULABH washrooms, which would facilitate smokers have a PEACEFUL SMOKE without scowls and having to smoke furtively as if they were thieves!
Every smoker contributes to the CONSOLIDATED FUND OF INDIA. Look at the percentage of excise on tobacco products-
If the excise burden is measured as a percentage of the retail price, the burden on handmade bidis is 8.8% while the burden on cigarettes is 33% or higher.
The money paid by a smoker for a cigarette costing in retail at Rs. 5/- would have been excised to the extent of Rs. 1.70 per cigarette. So smokers are persons who are contributing on a regular basis- assuming that a person smokes 10 cigarettes a day, he contributes Rs. 17/- per day every day as Central Excise. Is there a social obligation on the part of the Government to alleviate the illnesses of smokers from the consequences of smoking? Surely they do, otherwise, there would be NO JUSTIFICATION for keeping the Excise so high. But, how many hospitals have been built for treatment of smokers? I know of none, instead, whenever a smoker goes to a Physician, and the Doctor tells him that his problems are all because of smoking!
There was a research conducted by the University of North Carolina says as follows;-
As per www.reuters.com, the findings of the study revealed that a change in the chromosome 11 from DNA code is responsible for imbibing the habit of smoking while chromosome 9 hinted at an association with the ability to quit smoking. The study also revealed that genes are also responsible for higher chances of lung cancer.
The research study may help develop better treatment for quitting the habit of smoking. “This lends support to the idea that smoking is not just a question of will power alone, but that genetics plays a role in how much a person smokes and their ability to quit smoking,” explained Dr. Helena Furberg, lead researcher, University of North Carolina.
So if the proclivity to get stuck with smoke lies with one’s genes, why not do research on the money gained by the Government through Excise and get smokers to adequately bolster their “chromosome 9” instead of bad-mouthing smokers and seeing smoking as willful behaviour of a smoker?
This witch hunt should end and the Government should spend more on research in India on this aspect and create a healthy nation. The Physicians should also realize that SMOKING is a condition which should be rectified through their sane medical advice and not exploit the lack of knowledge by the medical community to set right the maladies which get aggravated through smoking.
MORALITY SHOULD BE ALIENATED FROM MEDICAL CONDITION.
The government should utilize the money gained through sale of tobacco products for the betterment of the health of the smokers. The non-smokers should not be allowed to enjoy the excise collected through sale of Tobacco products- as that would mean, the non-smoker would bad-mouth a smoker and yet be shameless enough to use the excise duties collected through sale of tobacco products for his/her own benefit.
The issue of COMPELLING A CIGARETTE COMPANY TO PLACE AN ADVERTISEMENT ON THE PRODUCT AGAINST THE COMPANY’S OWN INTEREST IS CHEAP! The government should educate the people through its own spending and not COMPEL on moral grounds.
Coming to the smokers, they should also choose spots not frequented by non-smokers and smoke tobacco so that their habits do not deleteriously affect the “supposed” health of non-smokers.
The Government advt, at the cost of the company, SMOKING KILLS, seems as if the non-smokers are exempt from premature death or even death itself. I can give enough examples of persons who had smoked their way to glory well into their late eighties. We make generalizations with the hope that such generalizations would have a salubrious effect on humans, but these bold type SMOKING KILLS looks like a big joke……. with no purpose…and to boot at someone’s cost!
AS RESPONSIBLE INDIANS, LET US TELL THAT THE EXCISE COLLECTED ON TOBACCO PRODUCTS BE EXCLUSIVELY USED FOR THE WEAL OF TOBACCO USERS ONLY- LET US DEVELOP SOME SELF-RESPECT.