IMA Demands Ban On Smoking Scenes In Films

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New Delhi: Indian Medical Association (IMA) today demanded a “blanket” ban on smoking scenes in films, saying the caption cautioning viewers about the effect of smoking on the health below a scene has “failed” to deter people from taking to smoking.

“We demand a complete ban on smoking scenes in films. The caption below the scene that ‘smoking is injurious to health’ does not stop people emulating the smoking character depicted in the film,” said IMA Secretary General, Dr KK Aggarwal.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-India 2010), about 35 per cent of adults in India consume tobacco in some form or the other. The estimated number of tobacco users in India is 27.5 crore, with 16.37 crore users of smokeless tobacco, 6.9 crore only smokers and 4.23 crore users of both smoking and smokeless tobacco.

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A study by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has recently revealed that cancer of the mouth has emerged as the most common among men, followed by lung cancer, he said, adding both of these are directly linked to tobacco consumption in a direct or indirect form. “The number of women smokers is also on the rise, which has a hazardous effect on not only their own health but also of their future offspring. Tobacco consumption is also a leading cause of impotency, early ageing, and heart disease.

Dr S S Agarwal, IMA National President said with the stress levels rising, resorting to cigarette smoking seems like the easy way out. “However, people must be made to realise that they are signing up for life-long health complications, high hospital bills and unhappiness. Awareness also needs to be raised about the dangers of hookah and e-cigarette consumption, which are seen as good alternatives,” he said.

The Heart Care Foundation of India and IMA will be rolling out several public sensitisation activities in the course of the next one year. IMA has also sent communication to all its 1,700 branches and 2.5 lakh members not to allow smoking in their organizational meetings and their clinics and hospitals should be strictly no smoking zones. No doctor shall smoke in public place and in public view.

IMA also said it will extend its expertise in training all general practitioners in tobacco cessation so that tobacco quit facilities are available to those who want to give up. “IMA will be training all general practitioners in tobacco cessation so that facilities are available to those who want to quit tobacco.