By Our Correspondent | Opening Doorz Editorial | April 28, 2020

Statutory Warning: Smoking is injurious to health.

“No one can hold a cigarette like an Anne Bancroft or a Rita Hayworth, but the least I can do is try. An attempt to look cool! I don’t endorse smoking but what the hell, one can POSE,” writes Ekavali Khanna on her Instagram post. Looks like here, she does not worry about what people will say as opposed to her character Najma in the Iram Haq film, What Will People Say. A non-smoker, shot by Susmila Sil, Ekavali is using the cigarette as a prop to enhance her ‘faraway thoughts’ look.

Raima Sen, posing with a cigarette in hand, ensures her warning is upfront with #smokingisinjurioustohealth #justaportrait. Deep in thought, apparently after having taken a puff [as the pic would like us to believe], Raima is focussed on the shot, oblivious to the surrounding.

Smoking is injurious to health
Smoking is injurious to health: Sister Act: Riya and Raima Sen.

Riya Sen was shot sometime in 2002 by Ram Bherwani. Riya too does not endorse smoking but like every other actor, a cigar in hand sometimes makes for a good prop in photography. A teenager then, Riya is put at ease by the talented, award-winning photographer Ram.

Mugdha Godse in this Bunty Prashant click way back at the turn of the new century, is another actor who does not smoke nor encourage smoking. Here, too, like the others, in her early modelling years, Janet from Fashion tries her hand at various options. A classic stunner!

All Bollywood films and films shown on television now come with a statutory warning whenever an actor lights up on screen. “Smoking is injurious to health. No actor in this film promotes smoking.”

WHO report on women smokers, globally

About 250 million women in the world are daily smokers. About 22 percent of women in developed countries and 9 percent of women in developing countries smoke tobacco. In addition, many women in south Asia chew tobacco.

Cigarette smoking among women is declining in many developed countries, notably Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA. However, this trend is not found in all developed countries. In several southern, central and eastern European countries cigarette smoking is either still increasing among women or has not shown any decline.

The tobacco industry promotes cigarettes to women using seductive but false images of vitality, slimness, modernity, emancipation, sophistication, and sexual allure. In reality, it causes disease and death. Tobacco companies have now produced a range of brands aimed at women. Most notable are the “womenonly” brands: these “feminised” cigarettes are long, extra-slim, low-tar, light-coloured or menthol.

World No Tobacco Day May 31, 2020: protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use

For decades, the tobacco industry has deliberately employed strategic, aggressive and well-resourced tactics to attract youth to tobacco and nicotine products. Internal industry documents reveal in-depth research and calculated approaches designed to attract a new generation of tobacco users, from product design to marketing campaigns aimed at replacing the millions of people who die each year from tobacco-attributable diseases with new consumers—youth.

Smoking is injurious to health
Smoking is injurious to health: Ekavali Khanna (left) and Mugdha Godse.

In response to the tobacco and related industries’ systematic, aggressive and sustained tactics to attract a new generation of tobacco users, World No Tobacco Day 2020 will provide a counter-marketing campaign and empower young people to engage in the fight against Big Tobacco.

The World No Tobacco Day 2020 global campaign will serve to:

  • Debunk myths and expose manipulation tactics employed by the tobacco and related industries, particularly marketing tactics targeted at youth, including through the introduction of new and novel products, flavours and other attractive features.
  • Equip young people with knowledge about the tobacco and related industries’ intentions and tactics to hook current and future generations on tobacco and nicotine products.
  • Empower influencers (in pop culture, on social media, in the home, or in the classroom) to protect and defend youth and catalyze change by engaging them in the fight against Big Tobacco.

How are tobacco and related industries manipulating youth?

Use of flavours that are attractive to youth in tobacco and nicotine products, like cherry, bubble gum and cotton candy, which encourages young people to underestimate the related health risks and to start using them.

  • Sleek designs and attractive products, which can also be easy to carry and are deceptive (e.g. products shaped like a USB stick or candy).
  • Promotion of products as “reduced harm” or “cleaner” alternatives to conventional cigarettes in the absence of objective science substantiating these claims.
  • Celebrity/influencer sponsorships and brand sponsored contests to promote tobacco and nicotine products (e.g. Instagram influencers).
  • Point-of-sale marketing at vendor outlets frequented by children, including positioning near sweets, snacks or soda and providing premiums for vendors to ensure their products are displayed near venues frequented by young people (includes providing marketing materials and display cases to retailers).
  • Sale of single stick cigarettes and other tobacco and nicotine products near schools, which makes it cheap and easy for school children to access tobacco and nicotine products.
  • Indirect marketing of tobacco products in movies, TV shows and online streaming shows.
  • Tobacco vending machines at venues frequented by young people, covered in attractive advertising and pack displays, and undermining regulations on sales to minors.
  • Litigation to weaken all kinds of tobacco control regulations including warning labels, display at point of sale, and regulations that limit access and marketing to children (specifically provisions to ban the sale and advertising of tobacco products near schools).

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