KOCHI: Former Justice K Naryana Kurup has said that the verdict to ban smoking in the public had changed the lives of millions and even changed their habits. â€śTobacco is the greatest monster of all times and it was not tsunami or AIDS or nuclear weapon,â€ť he told City Express on the occasion of World No-Tobacco day.
â€śA tsunami hits only once in a bluemoon, kills many and leaves a trail of destruction. AIDS kills far less number of people as compared to tobacco,â€ť he said.
In India, one million people die from tobacco every year and it has been estimated that about 100 million people died in the 20th century because of tobacco.
If this present trend continued, more than a billion people would lose their lives towards the end of the 21st century, he added.
Justice Kurup also said that there was a misconception that the government gains through the sale of tobacco. â€śThis is not true. The Government is at a loss as the revenue generated by way of taxes through the selling of tobacco is spent to treat tobacco generated diseases and to rehabilitate tobacco victims,â€ť he said.
He said that India could adopt measures taken by other countries in regulating tobacco consumption. The New Zealand government had increased the tax on tobacco by 40 per cent, which led to a significant decrease in its consumption. In the United Kingdom, supermarkets are banned from displaying cigarette packets on shelves, he said.
Justice Kurup also touched upon the on screen representation of smoking in films. â€śHeroes should actually emulate a good message amongst the youth,â€ť he added.