Dr Reddy organized “Say No to Tobacco Campaign” on 27th May 2012 at Apollo Cancer Hospital, Hyderabad. Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma and actor Bharat Reddy graced the occasion. Several college students, young executives, patients, cancer survivors and oncologists from various hospitals participated in the event. An 8-year-old-boy who was a cancer survivor broke and crushed a big dummy cigarette on stage, and a small girl wore a dress that said “Papa Please don’t Smoke – your Smoking puts mom, you and me at risk”.
Dr Vijay Anand Reddy, Director, Apollo Cancer Hospital said, “Thirty years ago, WHO declared that tobacco was lethal. It is sad that we are still allowing this lethal product to be used freely! We should all join hands to put a stop to tobacco, so that the next generation will not see tobacco in any form in the market!”
Police Commissioner Aunrag Sharma said that despite having been a smoker for 15 years, he had quit completely. He urged all smokers to immediately quit at one go, instead of trying to do it slowly.
Dr Vijay Anand Reddy and other oncologists urged the Police Commissioner –
- To include tobacco control violations as part of the monthly crime report
- To designate one senior officer as Nodal Officer for tobacco control in the State
- To ensure that there was no sale of tobacco within 100 yards of educational institutes
- To ensure that there was no sale of tobacco to minors
- To strictly implement no-smoking-policy in public places, especially cafes
The Police Commissioner promised to implement these.
At the end, actor Bharat Reddy made everyone take a pledge –
- I will quit smoking and chewing tobacco!
- I will never ever smoke or chew tobacco!
- I will never allow anyone around me to smoke or chew tobacco!
- I will be a brand ambassador for anti tobacco campaign and strive to make my nation tobacco free!
Hollow-cheeked and skinny, factory worker Shaikh Shafique vowed to end the tobacco menace in Malegaon ka Superman, which was screened at IFFI in Goa last December. Shafique, 23, is in an advanced stage of tongue cancer, and he is praying he can survive long enough to see the film, set for release in Malegaon on the occasion of Bakri Id.
Shafique got addicted to gutkha when he was barely eight. Submucous fibrosis made it difficult to open his mouth. By the time he was 19, he could barely open it one centimetre. His mouth became very sensitive to heat, cold and spices and he had trouble eating solid food, his wife Jameela, 21, told The Indian Express from Malegaon.
Although Shafique’s health continued to deteriorate, he was so addicted to gutkha that he could never give it up, recalls Shaikh Nasir, the director of Malegaon ka Superman in 2009. The low-budget spoof won awards at film festivals in Los Angeles, Prague, Italy and Pakistan in the last two years, he added.
Jameela, who has two daughters, one aged three years and the other two months, said Shafique used to chew 30-40 packets of gutka everyday. Today, he seeks assistance to buy expensive medicines. After surgery, Shafique struggled to speak and had to undergo radiotherapy that sapped his energy and good looks, said older brother Atiq, who, along with other family members, spends Rs 1,500-2000 everyday on medicines.
For Shafique, lying on his bed with a deep hollow in his neck and mouth, speaking is an ordeal. In the film, the Superman’s father tells him to “Save Malegaon” and the hero does several things right, like taking babies to hospital for anti-polio drops.
“There is a shot in the film where someone chewing tobacco accidentally spits on him and he decides to end the menace. During the shooting too, we had urged him to give up the addiction,” the director said.