CHENNAI: An NGO working in the field of tobacco control received a disturbing video clip showing a kid, only around two years or so, consuming a banned tobacco product with ‘expertise’, even as an older person’s voice is heard in the background, giving him directions.
The Tamil Nadu People’s Forum for Tobacco Control (TNPFTC) received the video complaint through its ‘tobacco monitor mobile application’ on July 1.
The 27-second video shows a man handing over ‘Hans’, a brand of chewing tobacco that contains nicotine, to a little boy.
The kid grabs the packet happily, puts the product on his left palm, and rubs it like an expert, while the male voice in Tamil gives him directions.
Then, the kid gathers the product with his tiny fingers and stuffs it between his lower lip and gums, all by himself.
The male voice cheers him for his ‘expertise’.
The way the boy goes about doing it gives the viewer a feeling that the child had been doing it for some time.
The TNPFTC forwarded the complaint copy to the Chairperson, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Director of National Tobacco Control Programme, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, State health secretary, State Tobacco Control Cell, Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and the Director General of Police, on July 2.
“We are planning to forward to the complaint to the cyber crime cell, because we don’t know the origin of this video or its authencity. We got this complaint from a ‘student from Chennai’, who too wasn’t sure of its origin. We first need to trace this child and help him out of such a dangerous atmosphere,” TNPFTC national convenor S Cyril Alexander told Express on Friday.
It may be noted that the Tamil Nadu Commissioner of Food Safety and Drug Administration, through a notification dated May 23, 2015, has extended prohibition of manufacture, storage, distribution or sale of gutka and pan masala and any other food product containing tobacco or nicotine as its ingreidents, in the whole State of Tamil Nadu for a further period of one year.