June 01, 2010
By Joydip Chakrabarti
Around the globe, ‘World No Tobacco Day’ has been observed yesterday. In Tripura, rallies and seminars/discussions were organized to observe the day.
On the occasion of ‘World No Tobacco Day’ experts all over the world have emphasized on health hazards related to smoking and chewing tobacco products. Direct adverse affects of smoking are enormous; however, indirect adverse affects are also not negligible either.
Epidemiological studies show that non-smokers exposed to passive smoking are at risk for many of the health problems associated with direct smoking. Especially children with Asthma are at higher risk. Many experts believe that such as children and people around of a smoker, domestic pets, and other animals are vulnerable. Awareness campaign in this regard needs to be intensified.
Another important damaging aspect of smoking is cigarette littering. The remains of a cigarette after smoking, popularly known as cigarette butt, contain a filter. This filter is potentially dangerous source of nicotine poisoning and environmental degradation. It can take 18 months to 10 years for the filter to degrade. Before it degrades, filter acts as a significant poisoning agent. Cigarette butts are available in high quantities as litter in dustbins and even in roadsides. Small animals like puppies; squirrels etc unsuspectingly consume cigarette butts and become a victim of nicotine poisoning.
Further, filter in cigarette butts contain tar, particles, and toxins from the cigarette such as ammonia, arsenic, benzene, turpentine and other toxins. A reported 4.5 trillion cigarette butts wind up as litter worldwide per year. Such toxic elements in huge quantity may pose serious threat to nature.
Presence of arsenic in ground water is a serious problem in many parts of India. It is fact that cigarette butts are not only source of arsenic. Nevertheless, cigarette butts are dumping arsenic before degradation and responsible for worsening the situation. Tobacco companies are not supporting such environmental hazards caused by cigarette butts. However, experts around the globe are worried about cigarette littering and its consequences.
Mass Awareness can only improve the situation. Quitting smoking is not an easy task. So, to attain success, we need to chalk out well thought programs which will put sufficient emphasis on psychological parameters of a regular smokers. A sustained and result oriented mass awareness campaign is what we need at this hour.
Let us make every day a ‘No Tobacco Day’ from today itself.