Choose Life, Not Tobacco         |         Smoking is a habit that drains your money and kills your slowly, one puff after another….         |         Smoking helps you to relax… in Death-bed         |         Smoking is injurious not only to you, but for the ones around you also… Quit before it’s late         |         Smoking Leaves an Unseen Scar, it fill your Insides with Toxins and Tar         |         Only a fool would put his lips, at the other end of a burning fie.         |         Irony is, Tobacco companies kill their Best Customers.         |         You’re a Fool, if you think smoking is cool.         |         Tar the Roads, not your lungs.         |         Be brighter, put down the lighter.         |         Put the smoke out, before it put you Out.         |         Who’s going to retire on your hard-earned dollars… You or some tobacco company executive?         |         A Friend in Deed won’t make you smoke that weed.         |         Smokers die young, be smart, don’t start.         |         Every time you light up A cigarette, you are saying that your life isn’t worth Living….        |         Don’t let being on a ventilator ultimate become, the reason you eventually quit smoking. Save lungs while you can.         |         If you can’t stop smoking…. Cancer will.         |         Cigarettes are like Squirrels. They are perfectly harmless until you put one in your mouth and light it on fire.

Posts Under Tag: Tata Memorial Hospital

How Voice Of Tobacco Victims (VOTV) was Born on 31st May 2008

“Voice Of Tobacco Victims” is the brainchild of Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Associate Professor, Tata Memorial Hospital. He always wondered how a cancer causing substance, that kills millions every year, be sold so freely and advertized so brazenly. He was disturbed by the sight of ever increasing number of young cancer patients visiting his cancer clinic every day. Most of them, owing to advanced stage, died within 5 years of diagnosis. Those who survived, lived with severe depression, dejection, disfigurement and disability.

Rather than being a silent witness of a crime and wait for someone else to find a solution, he decided to spend some time in tobacco control activities. He planned to make tobacco victims as the public face of the war on tobacco. He decided to help tobacco victims get justice and help them raise a war cry against the very industry that they patronized for decades. He envisaged that no one can withstand this formidable force that is driven by pure passion. His idea was supported by Dr PC Gupta and Dr Surendra Shastri of Action Council Against Tobacco India. Finally, this experiment began on 31st May, 2008 with a small group of 10 cancer patients of Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi. The experiment proved immensely successful… these cancer patients shocked the media and audience with their grit and determination. They have only one aim for their countrymen “ This is what tobacco did to us, we want to save others!”

1.    The first meeting of VoTV happened on 31st May 2009 in Tata Memorial Hospital. The impact of this meeting could be gauged from the fact that it was covered by 36 news papers including the most popular one. For more details

2.    Inspired after the meeting, one of the members filed a compensation Suit against formidable Indian Tobacco Company (originally BAT) for 10 million rupees. He is a larynx cancer patient whom I treated 2 years back. Despite ITC’s powerful legal team, the case did not get rejected. Several other members have filed for compensation in local consumer redressal forums  all over the country.
Mumbai Mirror Link 01

Mumbai Mirror Link 02

Mumbai Mirror Link 03

3.    In September, 2010 during National Congress on Tobacco & Health at Mumbai, the VoTV members cornered the Health Minister and presented them a Charter of Demands and a huge canvas with more than thousand signatures. This event was published in 16 news papers including the prominent ones.  See the news coverage

4.    Many members have started their own mini campaigns at village levels and district level with their own innovative ideas which has given it as shape of nationwide campaign with great media coverage. See the news coverage

5.    VoTV members, wrote letters to celebs who endorse Tobacco product. Such letters from cancer patients has led to a sharp decline in celeb endorsement. One such example is – Sanjay Dutt says no to gutka, tobacco endorsements

6.    VoTV members condemned the senior politicians who represent Tobacco Industry as advocates – See the news coverage

7.    VoTV members worked with the media to condemn the government for delay in pictorial warning and their views got published in several news papers See the news coverage

8.    VoTV members condemned the government for offering top government honor to the Chairman of Indian Tobacco Company – See the news coverage

9.    Shri Devendra Singh, a VoTV member, spearheaded a campaign where Tobacco Victims participated in anti-corruption campaign in New Delhi. This got a huge media coverage. – See the news coverage
For more news coverage –
See the news coverage Link 01
See the news coverage Link 02
See the news coverage Link 03

10.    VoTV members partcipated in a unique campaign along with Directors of the Regional cancer centers in several states of India on 31st May, 2011. These Directors are opinion leaders of oncology in India. Seventeen such Directors wrote letters to the Prime Minister and Health minister to ban Gutka and Pan Masala in India. This campaign had a dramatic impact on Media and Society at large. This activity was covered by 27 leading news papers of different states. One such coverage

11.     With World Lung foundation VoTV members developed a powerful Television campaign on smokeless tobacco showing a 24 years boy who died of throat cancer while the campaign was still running – See the news coverage

12.    VoTV members also consented to participate in a hugely popular online campaign, with World Lung Foundation and several other NGOs, against smokeless tobacco – See the news coverage

13.    Three of the VoTV members are also volunteered to become interventions in the ongoing Supreme Court Case against Gutka/Pan Masala. See the news coverage

14.    Most of the VoTV members have emerged as strong health advocates in their local community educating people about early signs of cancer, diagnosis, treatment etc.

15.    They have been participating in most of the tobacco control meetings as important stakeholders. For example, VoTV members attended the music release of Shaan at Tata Memorial Hospital – See the news coverage

16.    VoTV members have also been participating alongside doctors in BBC world service media workshops. It is noticeable that their presence offers an additional impact to media coverage.

17.    Lobbying with Members of Parliament and the policy makers – On, 11th February and 17th March, the VOTV members held a meeting in New Delhi which turned out to be the “mother of all meeting”. They shared their plight with Ministers, Bureaucrats, media, public in a very emotional way. These meetings not only sensitized the media and policy makers but also sensationalized the issue of smokeless tobacco. The media response was beyond expectations.


To know more about the activity on 11th February, 2011
To know more about the acticity on 17th March 2011

Global Adult Tobacco Survey data & Union Ministry of Health Campaign

Data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) released in October 2010 found that smokeless tobacco: Khaini, Pan, Gutka, Pan Masala and others forms of smokeless forms are the most widely consumed tobacco products in India with almost 26% of adults – 33% of males and 18% of females – using these products daily.

The 4-week Smokeless Tobacco (Mukesh) campaign to be launched on television and radio in January 2011, will feature the story of 24 year old Mukesh Harane from Maharashtra – who represents the fast growing, young Indian chewing population – and who dies as a result of his chewing addiction. The campaign was produced at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, where Mukesh was admitted for treatment. The ad depicts the situation in one of the busiest cancer hospitals in the world,and one of the surgeons relays the horrific trauma patients endure in the Head & Neck Unit of the hospital as a result of their chewing tobacco habit. This campaign phase follows an earlier phase that ran in November 2009, which graphically depicted the disfigurement caused by chewing tobacco related cancers.

To view the video visit here


Smokers Deepak Kumar & Dr Rajendra Kerkar talk about cancer hazards of tobacco addiction

“Seventeen years ago, I lost my voice due to constant smoking for 25-30 years,” says Deepak Kumar, a throat cancer survivor, at a talk held at the Tata Memorial Hospital. The talk, Voices of the Victims, invited a number of patients diagnosed with tobacco-related cancer to speak about harmful effects of tobacco products on the eve of World Anti-Tobacco Day.

Ziyad Madon, Posted: May 30, 2009 at 0421 hrs IST

“It is not an informed choice,” Kumar says, responding to a question on the responsibility of smokers in maintaining health. People often do not realize that products like gutka can be harmful and due to misleading advertisements they consider these products to be harmless mouth fresheners. The problem, according to Dr Rajendra Kerkar, is that once a person becomes addicted to tobacco, breaking the habit is difficult.

Kerkar, a cancer specialist at the Tata Memorial Hospital, has been a smoker for years. He knows the risks as he has already been operated upon for tongue cancer. Yet he cannot quit, as the addiction is too strong.

Because of these kinds of reasons, it’s tough to convince people through anti-tobacco campaigns. This can be achieved only by implementing laws like anti-smoking law.

Second-hand smoking should also be prevented to protect non-smokers from the harms of nicotine. However, many of the victims of tobacco abuse believe that a harder stance must be taken, and that like other harmful substances such as opium, tobacco also should be banned. The problem, they say, is that the government treats tobacco “as a source of revenue,” a practice which must stop, if the anti-tobacco movement is to have any chance of success.

The victims believe that it is their mission to educate others about the ills of tobacco, and to ensure that no one else goes through what they have.

On May 31, legislation comes into force mandating that all tobacco products display pictorial warnings showing the harms caused by tobacco— a victory for those who, like Kumar, fight against tobacco.


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Correspondence Address:

Sambandh Health Foundation, 1st Floor, Polyclinic, Near Rishi Public School, Sector 31, Gurugram 122001