Me (almost an ex smoker) & my father (an ex smoker) went to watch the now iconic ‘Munnabhai….’ last Sunday in one of those glossy multiplexes. To collect the tickets (done through tele-booking), we reached 45 mins in advance. This gave us some time to appreciate the newly done interiors of the theater. While doing so, my eyes came across something, which didn’t have much to appreciate in it…on the contrary, it demanded criticism and that’s the reason why I am writing this.
What was that ‘something’?
A beautifully laid out, softly lit, glassy and classy kiosk of a considerable size in a conspicuous corner. The ones that you would think should be displaying/selling branded jwellery, perfumes, international chocolates or exotic teas.
The displayed items were all the brands of CIGARETTES made by the house of ITC, laid out like designer watches or Swarovsky crystals. On the front were two A4 sheet saying ‘NOT FOR BELOW 18’ & ‘SMOKING IS INJURIOUS TO HEALTH’
Selling cigarettes in such a seductive manner in a public place like a Multiplex is incorrect. Kids and teenager with impressionable minds frequent these places, more than adults and the chances of them getting drawn towards visually attractive stalls is pretty high (in fact, I saw that happening). Considering that cigarettes on their own hold youngsters (at least of the male variety) fancy, a glossy way of displaying/selling them will further damage the situation and build a society with perhaps a higher number of smokers than what it would have been without that kiosk.
Cinemax must be pocketing a huge amount by selling this space to ITC, which in turn is getting these potential customers. Both these houses need a lesson in Social Responsibility. Putting up two A4s, way below the eye-level (can be read only by learned toddlers) saying something, which means nothing isn’t exactly Social Responsibility.
These corporates should be following what my father’s response to the situation was. If they have to sell cigarettes in this page 3 manner, they should also put up a full-size skeleton of a human being with a cigarette in his mouth and saying, ‘This is what happens to a smoker’. Sounds logical, eh?
Some of you might be thinking, that coming from a smoker, this piece is hypocritical. But, the fact of the case is that I am absolutely aware of the health hazards involved and hence would not want anyone to take it up. As for me, I’m down to a couple of cigarettes a day and have made a promise to quit it completely once I become a father.