Friday July 19, 2019
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Britain sets an example by kicking the butt; Is India ready for it?

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Agencies

A lot of Brits must be getting really worried, and the feeling is completely justified. The ban on cigarette packs on counter shelves which was there for just the big businesses, have been extended to small retailers too. The offenders can be fined as much as £5,000 and imprisonment up to 6 weeks to 2 years. Tobacco sales account for 30% of such establishments.

With this move, English have successfully removed tobacco from all sorts of advertising. The idea is simple, keep the cancer sticks out of sight and thus out of mind too.

‘Two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18, so it is vital that everything is done to put tobacco out of sight to protect future generations,’ Hazel Cheeseman, policy director at Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) was quoted in an English newspaper.

But this is not all. UK has decided a firm crack down on the global killer. Later this year smoking will be banned in cars carrying children. This will be followed by sale of cigarettes in unbranded packs apart from the EU ban of Menthol tobacco and cigarette packs of 10. The last measure is taken to curb the growing percentage of young smokers, menthol being one of their favorites.

Even without the law, or maybe because of that the population of smokers in Britain is showing a downward trend. Smokers between 11 to 15 years of age plummeted from 9% to 3% between 2003 and 2013. Even veteran puffers are kicking the butt. Between 2007 and 2015 percentage of adult smokers decreased from 25% to 18%.

The fall of the ‘Power Wall’ as the cigarette pack displays are called in industry jargon has snatched the last inch of advertising space form tobacco companies. Film industry, one of the biggest and most efficient promoters of smoking is also showing the practice a cold shoulder. Disney has already announced a ban on the depiction of smoking in PG 13-rated films.

In the midst of all this, big tobacco companies are losing a lot of sleep as lucrative markets slip out of their grip. They can’t afford a global sway against tobacco with similar laws being followed everywhere. The markets in China and India are huge. The ongoing controversy, dubbed by media as Tobaccogate in India shows that the big fish of the tobacco world are not acquiescing to the dictates of governments.

But the world seems to have taken up arms against Tobacco. New Zealand has decided to become completely tobacco free by 2025. UN is also under a lot of pressure to launch a campaign against tobacco, similar in scale and reach to the AIDS/HIV campaign.

The way people respond to the new British laws and what the rest of the world learns form them will have a major role to play in making the world tobacco free.

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Small UK Village Celebrates Centenary of Its Part in Aviation History

On its outward journey in 1919, the 193-meter-long R34 airship flew from Scotland to New York

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UK, Village, Aviation History
Pulham in Norfolk became the return point in the first ever return flight across the Atlantic Ocean by an airship. Pixabay

A village in the UK with a population of less than 1,000 was marking on Saturday the centenary of its part in aviation history.

Pulham in Norfolk became the return point in the first ever return flight across the Atlantic Ocean by an airship, the Xinhua news agency reported.

On its outward journey in 1919, the 193-meter-long R34 airship flew from Scotland to New York, but on the return leg it unexpectedly redirected to Pulham where its arrival was greeted by thousands of people. It became the first airship that made the East-West crossing of the Atlantic by air.

Sheila Moss King, who has organised the centenary event, said the arrival of the airship on July 13, 1919 had earned Pulham its place in aviation history.

UK, Village, Aviation History
A village in the UK with a population of less than 1,000 was marking on Saturday the centenary of its part in aviation history. Pixabay

The crew’s 75-hour return flight to Britain was a little less eventful than the 108-hour outbound journey from East Lothian in Scotland to Long Island, she said.

“They weren’t sure if they were on the right course and they flew through the most terrible storms with the airship tipping up and down,” Moss King noted.

A band struck up the song “See the Conquering Hero Comes” as the crowd gave the crew a heroes welcome in Norfolk and got an absolute drenching when the water used as ballast was released.

“It was in the news, it was on the radio – people all around the world would have heard of Pulham,” she said, adding it took 500 people to land the airship.

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Records show that in New York the crew was showered with gifts and were greeted by US President Woodrow Wilson.

There was even an offer of $1,000 for the airship’s cat, named Wopsie, but it was turned down, and the cat returned to England.

Descendants of the airship crew and airfield workers gathered in the village on Saturday at the start of a two-day centenary celebration. In the nearby town of Diss, an R34 memorabilia exhibition has opened.

The outline of the airship has also been marked close to where it landed a century ago. (IANS)