‘ZIndagi Se Yaari’ to build awareness about harmful effects of tobacco among youth

 ‘ZIndagi Se Yaari’ to build awareness about harmful effects of tobacco among youth

Team L&M

To build awareness about the significant use of bidi and smokeless tobacco among young people in Uttar Pradesh and to highlight the importance of health and well-being, college students in Varanasi have come together for a one-of-its-kind engaging college festival titled Zindagi Se Yaari – Youth Fest 2022 today (September 1) from 2 pm to 5 PM.
The festival is setting out to strengthen the discourse on how educational institutes have the power to affect positive change, especially to help reduce the practice of tobacco consumption by increasing awareness, and inspire action amongst their students. The festival will be held at the Department of Social Work & Sociology, Banaras Hindu University (BHU). The department is working in collaboration with the Department of Sociology, and NSS Units, Faculty of Social Sciences of the university. .
“Young people are not just our future; they are our present as well. It is important to foster their understanding about the ways in which tobacco can take away their lives. Young people in general and youth of Uttar Pradesh in particular have been misguided into tobacco usage, especially bidi and smokeless tobacco.
Stating that the festival is being organised to put right kind of facts before the youth, Professor Arvind Kumar Joshi, Dean of Department of Social Work and Sociology, BHU remarked, “We are organising this event  to put  things into perspective for young people and help them make healthy, safe choices for themselves. We also want to reinforce the idea that youth occupied spaces should be tobacco free spaces.”
According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2, Uttar Pradesh 20162017 (GATS-2), nearly 267 million adults (15 years and above) in India (29 per cent of all adults) are users of tobacco. In Uttar Pradesh, 52.1 per cent of men and 17.7 per cent of women (and 29.4 per cent of all adults) either consumed smoked tobacco or smokeless tobacco (amongst which khaini, gutka and bidi were found to be the most-commonly used tobacco products across Uttar Pradesh). The sale of loose cigarettes and bidis are considered to be a prominent contributor to the increase of tobacco consumption owing to their affordability and easy availability. According to GATS-2, expenditure on cigarettes has tripled and that on bidi and smokeless tobacco has doubled since 2009-2010.
Zindagi Se Yaari – Youth Fest 2022 will include a range of activities kick-starting with an Interactive Wall Activity that will be installed to allow young people to consciously think about their day-to-day choices. This will be followed by a life-sized snakes and ladders board game which will be at the venue that motivates players to make healthy choices, by saying no to tobacco, in order to succeed in the game and their lives. The snakes in this game metaphorically represent tobacco products while the ladders act as a gateway to leading a healthy and positive life.
Later, a Puppet Show by Lucknow artist group Chitran Kala Manch Samiti aims to increase awareness on the harmful effect of bidi and smokeless tobacco via a storytelling format. Prof Joshi will be sharing closing remarks on the role that educational institutions play in encouraging tobacco-free spaces.
After these activities, there will be an unveiling of the interactive billboards and posters endorsed by State Health Department of Uttar Pradesh and Tata Memorial Center. These billboards and posters, developed with the technical support of Vital Strategies, will be placed across Lucknow and Varanasi, highlight the health risks of bidi smoking and smokeless tobacco. The billboards specifically will be installed in and around public spaces in Lucknow, including Charbagh, Hazratganj, Parivartan Chowk,    Qaiserbagh, Patrakarpuram Chowk and Saharaganj for four weeks to engage the public, especially young people, with messages on tobacco use and its deadly health impacts.
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. A microsite, Breakup Now has also been developed that encourages a better understanding of health and wellness among youth.


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