Youth icons call for tobacco-free educational institutions

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 23 – Kerala’s much-adored youth icons who have positioned the state both in the national and global map stand united in their call for tobacco free educational institutions. They have appealed to the Government and the society to work towards clearing Kerala’s educational institutions from the scourge called tobacco.

They say that tobacco is the gateway substance, leading youngsters to the abuse of more addictive and dangerous drugs, and thus demands concerted attention and time-bound action.

Mr Sanjay Vijayakumar, Chairman of Kochi-based Startup Village and one of Asia’s 21 young leaders said, “The time, energy and money spent on purchase and use of tobacco products is in fact a big drain on our resources. Kerala spends Rs 1514 crores a year for cure and care of tobacco-induced cancers and other grave diseases. Educating youngsters from tobacco use initiation is important and as such our campuses have to be totally kept tobacco and smoke-free.”

Kerala’s well-known music composer, singer, and musician Mr M Jayachandran said, “The increased use of cigarettes and tobacco products among youth is worrying. Starting with cigarettes and tobacco, youngsters are soon lured into use of drugs. The society has an obligation to protect younger generation and prevent them from the use of tobacco products.” 

“Educational institutions, which are the grooming grounds for creating responsible citizens have to be kept tobacco and smoke-free,” Kerala’s music icon behind many mega hit numbers added.

State-award winning actor Ms Parvathy Thiruvothu said, “Any form of substance addiction is a humiliation to our minds. The notion that to feel high and happy or be productive, one must inhale or ingest a substance is incredibly undermining the capacity of our minds. I wish the youth of this generation would learn to explore life and experience the high of it through an addiction free way of life.”

The Indian tobacco control law COTPA, 2003 prohibits smoking in educational institutions and all forms direct and indirect advertisements, promotion, and sponsorships besides prohibiting sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of educational institutions.

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