Is the Media Influencing People Against Smoking?


Indian Media Author Richard Bach quoted his views on smoking in his book, The Bridge Across Forever... "You matter so little to me that I don’t care if you can’t breathe. Die if you want, I’m lighting up."

Probably, that was the thought behind the ban on smoking in public places, so that the non-smokers doesn’t suffer because of someone’s personal choice. But, does the ban really help or do we need media to actively support this ban?

A couple of years ago, when actor Saif Ali Khan was admitted on account of ill-health and chest pain, he made a public announcement that he would quit smoking. News agencies, channels and newspapers across the country flashed his quote saying, "My doctors told me my condition was brought on entirely by smoking. It caused deposits in the artery, which caused that clot. I’ve decided to quit smoking completely."

Then, we have news of other actors such as Shah Rukh Khan and John Abraham, who made it public that they will try and quit smoking. Once again, is promotion of actors’ off-screen statements declaring a no smoking habit enough to curb the mass spread of the habit of smoking?
Stub the cigarette
But, the fact remains that smoking has acquired a certain social status. Good or bad, personal choice or an influenced habit, one thing is for sure, smoking is not just a health concern; it has far greater social influence.

The effort to break this social connotation though has begun; but is it enough? Is the media using its full rights to influence people against smoking? Or is it getting caught in the act of creative expression, while showing the lead actor puffing in a scene?

We need more characters like on the popular TV series, Friends, who scoff at their friend for smoking. Assertive or not, the media has a lot of power, and it is for us to help them channelise in a certain manner. So, as alert citizens, how can we help media to eradicate this social nuisance?


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