Rallies mark no tobacco day in Orissa

Bhubaneswar, May 31 (IANS) A large number of people including, social activists, students and government officials staged rallies Monday in Orissa to highlight the ill effects of tobacco as they observed World No Tobacco Day, an organiser said.

People from all walks of life, including hundreds of boys and girls, came out in a procession in state capital Bhubaneswar.

Many of them were holding posters, banners and placards that had messages such as ‘Quit smoking and save society’, ‘Say no to tobacco’ and ‘Smoking is injurious to health’.

Some were also seen posing as tobacco monsters by covering their faces with masks and wearing garlands bearing packets of tobacco products.

The rally, which was attended by more then 300 people, was organised by city-based Orissa Voluntary Health Association (OVA) as part of the nationwide campaign against tobacco use launched by various government and non-government organisations.

‘The purpose of this rally was to create awareness about the ill effects of tobacco. Police and health department officials also participated in the rally,’ Kshyamakar Swain, its president told IANS.

Similarly hundreds of NCC (National Cadet Corps) cadets and students carried out cycle rallies in Cuttack city, about 25 km from here, with the aim to create awareness among the masses about the hazards of smoking.

The World Health Organisation has declared May 31 as World No Tobacco Day and this year’s theme is ‘Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on women’.

In India, the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to youngsters below 18 is banned.

But the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) 2009 for India found that 8.3 percent of girls in the 13-15 age group consume some form of tobacco. Around 2.4 percent of the girls consume cigarettes and 7.2 percent consume other tobacco products.