Conversation # 01: Timeline 2001 A.D
Dude1: "Shek, Let's go for a smoke!"
Me: "Go ahead, mate! I don't smoke!"
Dude1: "Oh! Come on! I'm not gonna fall for that one. You don't look like the type who doesn't smoke!"
Conversation #02: Timeline 2007 A.D
Dude2: "Let's go across the road and buy some cigarettes!"
Me: "Nah! You go ahead. Look at the traffic..it's a mess, man!"
Dude2: "You gave up smoking or what?"
The truth of that matter is I've never ever taken a puff...Never! Just never saw why I should!
What were all those classes in high school for? And all those statutory warning messages on packs? They definitely were conveying something I should pay heed to.
On the topic of statutory warning messages, chanced upon this article: Scary pictures to help you quit smoking
The article says: Buying cigarettes (in India) may not be a pleasant experience from December 1 as grim pictures of cancerous tumors or an ailing infant will be printed on the packet of your favorite brand.
"Pictures definitely have an impact. Pictorial warnings will not only remind the user of the dangers (to him) but also to those around him or her, such as friends and family. Children, for example, can become a very strong pressure group by encouraging their parents to give up tobacco," Ramadoss said.
Countries that have introduced pictorial warnings include Canada, Brazil and Australia.
Over 250 million people in India use tobacco products like gutka, cigarettes and beedis. Tobacco kills at least 1 million people in the country every year, says the Indian Council of Medical Research.
Graphic health warnings in Canada led to a 3 per cent drop in smoking.
With 250 million tobacco consumers in India, a similar percentage drop would mean six million users less.
That also means there will be 30, 000 people who'll live!
Ain't that fabulous?
I also subscribe to what the minister says about pressure groups who can influence smokers to kick the habit. Maybe not immediately, but over a period of time they definitely can.
Moreover, there's a lot of concern about cigarettes being sold outside schools/ colleges. This move can dissuade the adolescents who feel tempted to try the dreaded 'drug'.
I have my own little doubts about how much a chain smoker would care about the warning signs though. The writing is on the wall. He/ She knows it. The end is nearer than they think it is. I can only hope they have their insurance in place.
Anyway, visual imagery works and I know it from personal experience.
As an 8 year old, I remember waiting outside a pub while my uncle picked up a crate of beer. In the 5 minutes or so that I waited inside the car, at least two people walked out (inebriated) making complete fools of themselves.
Is it any surprise that alcohol doesn't excite me?