Saturday, April 3, 2010
Pratibimb” was a great platform to reach out to the engineering students in Mumbai. At Pratibimb SFM was associated with the intra departmental competition of Fashion Show. The theme was kept as addiction and couple of team adopted smoking addiction as their theme. The show was a huge success and instantly connected to audience helping to spread the message to an enormous group. Also other events such as Marathi Street Plays and fine arts events had adopted smoking as their theme to support Smokefree Mumbai campaign.
At Aavishkaar, SFM launched its signature campaign through a press conference. The main aim of the signature campaign is to garner support from across all sections of Mumbai society and to file a petition with the appropriate authorities within the Maharashtra state government towards increasing the fine charged for the violation of the law from Rs. 200 to Rs. 500. Aavishkaar’s association with Smoke Free Mumbai was to support and create a platform to help spread the awareness amongst the students and medical fraternity of Mumbai. At Aavishkaar SFM was promoted through various events, including photography, t-shirt painting, rangoli , various sports events like Basketball and women Volleyball.
Street play at Magma festival was the highlight and gauged lot of attraction by the common man on the streets including the taxi drivers and long distance commuters.. The main events at the fest including workshop conducted by Drs from preventive oncology department of Tata memorial hospital; ad mad show, case study; debate, elocution and the signature campaign.
Students from ‘Brouhaha’ gave tremendous support to SFM and helped to gather support from the participating college students. At “Brouhaha we managed to collect thousand signatures. The main highlight was the street play performed by the students on Marine drive for Smoke Free Mumbai highlighting the harmful effects of smoking and passive smoking and encouraging Mumbai citizens to take proactive steps towards preventing instances of smoking in public places and help in building “Aamchi Mumbai Smoke Free Mumbai”. At ‘Brouhaha’ SFM was involved in major events including various fine arts like graffiti, ad mad, scripted chaos, debate etc to promote the law. The volunteers at these festivals wear wearing SFM T-Shirts in order to spread awareness for the campaign.
Kshitij was the perfect start to SFM’s association with college festivals. Smokefree Mumbai was associated with the cricket match and the final team members of the intercollegiate competition were wearing SFM T-Shirts during their match. Also various events including debate and other fine arts competition had incorporated SFM as their theme. Posters saying “I Choose to Say No” were put up across the college campus to spread the message. Signatures stalls were put up during the festival where volunteers educated the crowd about the law and collected signatures
Smoke Free Mumbai (SFM) Campaign associated with various colleges festivals in Mumbai with the objective of increasing awareness for the Smoke Free Mumbai campaign and reach out to the youth of Mumbai at a large scale. The main aim was to form a youth support group for the campaign and promote the cause of highlighting the hazards of passive smoking and educating the general public about the Smoke Free Public Places Law passed on 2nd October 2008. It is vital for the Smoke Free Mumbai campaign to generate proactive action from Mumbai citizens towards preventing instances of smoking in public places and to help in building public support towards “Aamchi Mumbai Smoke Free Mumbai”. Also, with an increasing number of tobacco users across the country, it is imperative to build youth support for a movement targeted at protecting the health of millions.
The campaign kick started in the month of December with Mithibai College Festival “Kshitij” and enthused to Sydenham College Festival “Brouhaha”. In the month of January SFM associated with Medical & Engineering college festivals which included KEM college festival, ”Aavishkaar” and VJTI college festival “Pratibimb”. Also with BGIMS, a management College. SFM is also associating with Nair College festival & J J Medical college festival coming up in February and March respectively.
Education Committee and Tata Memorial Hospital promoted the cause by highlighting the hazards of passive smoking by participating in the Marathon. 300 Municipal School Children and 20 doctors from the Tata Memorial Hospital ran in the Mumbai Marathon to support Smoke Free Mumbai Campaign. This initiative involved educating the general public about the Smoke Free Public Places Law which was passed on 2nd October 2008.
About 100 volunteers comprised of students from various city colleges such as Rachna Sansad, BGIMS, G S Medical College, etc as well as volunteers from Healis Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health contributed during the marathon. It was heartening to see the level of enthusiasm from the volunteer’s right from the beginning of the marathon, which started at the early hour of 7:00 AM, till it lasted. In the beginning itself they were given energizer food packets which consisted of sandwiches, burgers, sweet dishes, fruit concentrates and of course, water. The faces of the volunteers were painted with various anti tobacco messages such as “Smoke Kills” , “No Smoking”, etc. Individuals dressed in giant Cigarette Stub costumes, and volunteers wearing sign boards of smoke free Mumbai was loudly applauded by the spectators.
All individuals, involved in the effort, came together to make the event a huge success, especially the volunteers who gave their very best by remaining extremely energetic, patient and cheerful throughout the event. The municipal school children along with doctors from Tata Memorial hospital inspired thousands of participants with their spirit and optimism, and ensured maximum support for the campaign from the citizens of Mumbai.
The Association of Hotels and Restaurants in Mumbai (AHAR), which has membership exceeding 6500 eating establishments including hotels, restaurants, bars, etc. is a partner to the active implementation of the Smoke-Free Mumbai Campaign (SFM) that aims at ensuring a 100% compliance with the national smoke-free public places legislation notified last year. The Smokefree Mumbai Campaign in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has already distributed over 5000 smoke-free signage to AHAR members. The campaign plans to cover all 6500 AHAR members and also other restaurants in the city by the year end. The campaign will also provide the signage in Marathi soon after.
According to Mr. Alva, President of AHAR, at a Press Conference, The implementation of the law of Smoke free public places has received thumbs up from customers across segments. In fact, in the past few months there has been around 50% to 60% rise in the awareness among the customers about the harmful effects of smoking and passive smoking which has led to a positive change in customer response towards the ban.
Research has also shown that improved air quality translates to decreased toxin exposure among employees. For example, among employees of the Norwegian establishments that enacted smoking bans, tests showed improved (decreased) levels of nicotine in the urine of both smoking and non-smoking workers (as compared with measurements prior to the ban). A recent study showed New Jersey bars and restaurants had more than nine times the levels of indoor air pollution compared to New York City, which had enacted the ban.
It is conclusive that the implementation of a smoke-free environment is the primary and most effective way to ensure that a non-smoker’s right to good health and right to breathe air devoid of smoke is given preference over a smoker’s right to smoke and cause harm to those around him/her. The government should effectively implement smoke-free laws and increase compliance through proper enforcement mechanism. Without enforcement, laws are of no use.
As Smokefree public places law completed a year on 2nd October 2009, Smokefree Mumbai campaign initiated an extensive awareness campaign through one of the leading Radio Channels in India – “Radio Mirchi”.
Ever since the smoke-free law was passed on October 2, 2008, all public places in India have fallen under its influence, resulting in the elimination of the menace of secondhand smoke and ensuring smoke-free surroundings for all. According to Dr. Surendra Shastri, Chairman of the Smokefree Mumbai campaign, "There is now overwhelming evidence that reduced exposure to cigarette smoke in public places reduces hospital admissions due to heart attacks. On September 21, 2009, the journal "Circulation” of the American Heart Association published a meta-analysis of 13 major studies that looked at heart attack incidences after the smoking ban was introduced in USA, Canada and Europe. The findings clearly indicated a drop in the total number of heart attacks by 17% within a year, accumulating to 36% over a three-year period. Studies commissioned by the NHS (National Health Services) in Britain and Scotland have also shown a fall in heart attack rates by 10 percent and 14 percent, respectively, a year after the introduction of the ban. The smoking ban in public places in Mumbai has seen an improvement in compliance by 30-60% over the last one year. Heart attack-related hospital admission rates in Mumbai over the last three years should be compared with those that would occur in the next two years to study whether similar immediate health benefits are evident in Mumbai too.”
To celebrate the 1st birthday of the law Smoke Free Mumbai associated with the “Hi Mumbai” show with Radio Jockey- Jeeturaaj (most popular RJ in Mumbai) on Radio Mirchi between 7am -11 am for ‘Smokefree Week’. The following spokespersons had interacted with Jeeturaaj from 30th September to 3rd October 2009.
Dr Jairaj Thanekar- (M.B.B.S, D.P.H, D.H.A) Executive Health Officer, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) - Voice of Health department at MCGM, therefore his role for Smokefree law and its implementation gave inputs on Collaboration between MCGM and Smokefree Mumbai campaign since Oct 2, 2008.
Mr Santosh Shetty- Secretary, Association of Hotels and Restaurants of India (AHAR) discussed on the following topics - AHAR is one of the largest hotel associations of India with membership of approximately 6000 eating establishments across city and Smokefree Mumbai has partnership with AHAR. They target the middle and upper middle class populations. He has been associated with AHAR since 7 years. He also spoke about how the smokefree law has benefited their organization and the business since the law has been passed on Oct 2, 2008
3rd October 2009 was dedicated for the creating awareness about the smokefree Mumbai campaign and its objective. Parth Bal, Manager Coordination at SFM & Surabhi Shastri, Web designer at SFM chat about the campaign and its efforts to make Mumbai Smokefree city and introduced the website www.smokefreemumbai.org to the audience.