Pause on Puffing: Towards a tobacco free campus

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The anti tobacco campaign was inaugurated with much enthusiasm on the 3rd of February at the Hansraj College where the World Lung Foundation joined forces with the Delhi University to restrain the pernicious practice of smoking and tobacco consumption.
The Global Health Professional Students Survey, carried out among 15 medical colleges in the country, has revealed a high prevalence of tobacco use among students and poor enforcement of tobacco ban on medical campuses. A testament to this is the growing number of pan shops near college campuses, although the law prohibits sale and smoking of cigarettes in public places . Another worrying aspect is the growth of female smokers. The world lung foundation estimates that one third of Indian women consume at least one form of tobacco.
Restraining these trends requires local participation and active campaigning. The world lung foundation has played a leading role in this regard. It has contributed immensely in making north campus a smoke free zone; such programs have also been spread to Uttarakhand and other regions. Affiliating with colleges, a team of nodal officers from the member staff as well as student volunteers have been established with the objective to deter tobacco consumption by spreading awareness. Nodal officers and tobacco brigades have volunteered to act as guides to users and custodians of tobacco free campus.
To spread this message, a two day event consisting of competitions ranging from painting, declamation and street play were held. The key note address was presented by the principal of Hansraj college who explained in detail the correlation between Darwin’s theory and use of relaxants. The chief guest on this occasion was Mr. G.S. Khatri, the president of World Lung Foundation and a pioneer of the north campus ‘Smoke Free Zone’ initiative. The painting and the declamation contests were based on the theme of discouragement of tobacco usage and saw a large turnout. The second day witnessed a street play competition which was won by Hansraj college through an emotive performance of the hazards of tobacco consumption.
It was acknowledged by all present during the course of the campaign that such initiatives need all the possible support that can be provided, for this addiction is dangerous and its consequences dire though eventually this critical decision lies in an individual’s very own hands.

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