CHENNAI: If you are a school teacher who smokes, here is a message from the chairman of Cancer Institute (WIA) Dr V Shanta: Quit teaching or quit smoking.
Dr Shanta strongly believes that teachers who smoke, or consume tobacco in any form, set a bad example for their students.
“Smokers don’t deserve to be teachers who should be role models. Schools must ensure they have no teachers who smoke,” Dr Shanta said on Saturday while addressing media persons during an event organised by the Resource Centre for Tobacco Control, WIA, to mark World No Tobacco Day on May 31.
Speaking to Express, Dr Shanta said WIA had embarked on a survey in Tamil Nadu to study the tobacco consumption patterns and the prevalence of cancer. “As far as I have seen, 80 per cent of people who get neck, throat and lung cancer consume tobacco. The remaining 20 per cent are those who might have genetic disorders,” she said.
Emphasizing that parents must abstain from smoking as it directly affected their children, Dr Shanta said that though several anti-tobacco measures had been announced by the government, their implementation was not up to expectation.
“In countries like Brazil, where there is better pictorial health warning on tobacco products, there has been a reduction in the consumption of tobacco,” she said, adding that pictorial warning should occupy 85 per cent of space on tobacco product packets in India.
E Vidhubala, associate professor, Cancer Institute (WIA), said even though there were stringent laws on tobacco consumption, such as a ban on smoking in public places, on promotion and sale of tobacco products near educational institutions, they weren’t enforced in full spirit. “While consuming tobacco is bad for health, smoking in public places can have serious repercussions on the people who inhale the smoke. Tea shop owners are at greater risk of contracting other diseases due to passive smoking,” said T Vellayan, president, Tamil Nadu Traders’ Union Federation.