"Freedom from Britishers has now become an old thing. Every year a new colour should be added into it (I-Day). That gives newer meaning to independence and creates an enthusiasm among the people. This year's August 15 should therefore be observed as a 'Freedom from Tobacco Day'," NGO SEARCH founder Dr Abhay Bang said in a statement issued here yesterday.
Listing the ill effects of tobacco, Bang said 35 per cent adults in India consume tobacco, even as in the poverty ridden and backward district of Maharashtra's Gadchiroli this percentage is 60, based on a study conducted by the NGO.
Tobacco, kharra, gutkha, bidi, cigarettes and other items like flavoured nuts and paan masala cause dreaded disease like cancer and also increase the risk of heart attack, paralysis and blood pressure, Bang said.
The Maharashtra government has banned sale of flavoured tobacco and supari-mixed products. In Gadchiroli, its implementation and a campaign against tobacco has also been started, he said.
People should commit themselves to free Maharashtra from tobacco on this Independence Day by shunning its consumption and encouraging others also in this regard, he added. The SEARCH (Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health) had earlier run a successful campaign against liquor consumption in Gadchiroli.