Nipping Tobacco use in the bud

July, 2014
Each year Muni Seva Ashram cures thousands of cancer patients from the dreaded disease. The vast majority of cases seen at Kailash Cancer Hospital are caused by Tobacco use. For an NGO, such as Muni Seva Ashram, it is not enough to just focus efforts on curing the disease; the Ashram should expand its efforts to prevention of the disease.
 
Tobacco is more addictive than cocaine. Once a person is addicted, it is almost impossible to kick the addiction.  It is more effective to focus on educating children and young adults, than to work with adults on cessation. The ideology behind this is to eradicate the incidence of tobacco related cancers by educating students, hence preventing the initial act of chewing and smoking tobacco.
 
Last year, one of the senior residents of the Van Prastha Ashram, Mr. Narendra Gandhi, launched a program to visit nearby schools and educate the students on the hazards of tobacco.  So far, he has visited about 60 schools in the surrounding districts and addressed over 2000 students.
 
This summer, a master’s student from America, Milan Patel, elected to come here to further enhance this educational program, as part of his continuing education in Public Health.  He developed an interactive program with hands-on activities and demonstrations to enhance the presentation. In order to test the effectiveness of his designed program, he ran a pilot test at both the Gujarati-Medium and English-Medium high schools at Vankuva. Here is the link to his full presentation.
 


An oncology doctor, Dr. Ashish Kumar accompanied Milan during his presentation to the school.  Dr. Ashish is so convinced about “prevention” vs. “cure” that he has decided to continue visiting schools to talk to the students.  It is heartening to see that Milan’s work will continue to spread the message to reduce the use of tobacco.