Prominent health and fitness icons of India come together for the campaign
launch, panel discussion and a fitness challenge for tobacco-free and smoke-free future
To mark World No Tobacco Day, 31st May 2022, Cancer Patients Aid Association and Tata Memorial Center today hosted a panel discussion and a fitness challenge at #IndiaVsTobacco: Towards a Smoke-free Future event held at St. Paul Media and Art Center, 142 Waterfield road Bandra West, Mumbai.
The event began with the unveiling of scannable, interactive billboards by the Public
Health Department of the Government of Maharashtra, Tata Memorial Center, Cancer
Patients Aid Association along with technical partner, Vital Strategies, a global public
health organization. This was followed by a panel discussion that brought together some of
the most powerful and influential voices in Mumbai across the medical, entertainment,
sports and fitness communities, followed by a fitness challenge event at Elysium
Calisthenics Park, Bandra West.
The QR code-enabled billboards are deployed in and around public areas in Mumbai city to
engage the public and especially young people with messages primarily on secondhand
smoke exposure and its deadly health impact. Each of the billboards illustrates secondhand
smoke and is covered with tobacco smoke from cigarettes and bidis. This hides a key fact
about secondhand smoke that people can view only through their phones using the QR
code, which reveals the hidden message when the code is scanned.
Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, Professor and Surgeon, Department of Head Neck Surgery of Tata
Memorial Centre, prominent TV actor and fitness icon Karan Tacker, celebrity fitness
coach Mustafa Ahmed, fitness entrepreneur and Coach Pankaj Chandila, fitness and
wellness Coach Padmavati Iyengar, Founder of Litter Free India, Ripu Daman Bevli, and
Kirsten Varela, Founder – Elysium Callisthenics Park were a part of the discussion to amplify
the campaign messages for general public, highlight the hazards of tobacco consumption
and second-hand smoke exposure, and how it impairs fitness goals, overall health and
reduces the quality of life.
“This year asthma, heart disease and lung cancer are just some of the ways that
tobacco use, and secondhand smoke will kill over 1.22 Indians. I’m proud to support
the #IndiaVsTobacco campaign that spotlights the often overlooked effects of
secondhand smoke. It gives me hope people will notice and take some small steps
towards quitting tobacco. ” – Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, Head Neck Surgeon, and Deputy
Director, Cancer Epidemiology, Tata Memorial Centre.
The panel discussion was followed by an engaging fitness activity wherein a range of fitness
challenges were presented to the audience at the event. The objective of the event was to
support, motivate and encourage individuals and youngsters to spread awareness against
the deadly harms of tobacco use and second-hand smoke and promote a healthy lifestyle.
“I have always spoken about the effect of smoking and tobacco. Not only the effect of it
on the person who does it but those people who are around you, how it affects them as
well. How it basically affects you in the long run by not letting you enjoy a lot of things
that you may want to. So, I have been somebody who has spoken not only in terms of
my own friends but in terms of the general public as well. I have tried to explain that
what they don’t understand is the effect it creates on the culture that people start to
believe it’s cool to smoke and how nice it looks, but it needs to change. It requires
stronger laws and more education. We need to speak about this – that it’s not cool to
be living this kind of life where we feel it’s a cool statement to be smoking.” – Celebrity
fitness coach Mustafa Ahmed,
These key voices were a part of a curated event ahead of World No Tobacco Day, 31st May
2022 where representatives from the entertainment and fitness community gathered to
discuss the impact of deadly harms of tobacco, especially second-hand smoke exposure,
importance of smoke-free public places and celebrity responsibility. #IndiaVsTobacco has
been engaging young people, parents and institutions to work towards a smoke-free and
tobacco-free India. It has been gaining momentum as different initiatives are using the
hashtag to demonstrate their support for a tobacco-free India.
Ahead of World No Tobacco Day, the Public Health Department of Government of
Maharashtra, Maharashtra State NTCP, Tata Memorial Center, and Cancer Patient Aid
Association, along with technical partner, Vital Strategies launched the scanable,
interactive billboards in English and Marathi in 7 strategic locations across Mumbai and
its suburbs including Andheri Metro Station, Saki Naka Metro Station, Chakala Metro
Station, Dadar TT Circle, Lokhandwala junction, Hub Mall in Goregaon and Tatao Pali
junction in Thane to initiate conversations about the health risks that tobacco inflicts on
our society and spread awareness on the harms of second-hand smoke.
Over the last few months, #IndiaVsTobacco has been gaining momentum as different
initiatives are using the hashtag to demonstrate their support for a tobacco-free
India. After Karnataka, Maharashtra launched the interactive billboards and are set to be
unveiled in strategic locations in Lucknow and Delhi.
The billboards are being deployed in and around public areas in the cities to engage the
public and especially young people with messages primarily on secondhand smoke
exposure and its deadly health impact. They also include messages on smokeless
tobacco and the harm it causes to the environment, fitting with this year’s theme for
World No Tobacco Day: “Tobacco: Threat to the Environment”.