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EU Launches Anti-smoking Campaign Targeted At Young-What Are Sikhs Doing ?

Jun 1, 2004
Taken from other resource on internet...

BRUSSELS, Belgium: The European Union launched a euro72 million (US$95
million) anti-smoking campaign targeted at young smokers Tuesday and the EU's
health chief said he wanted to see smoking bans in the member states expanded
EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said the new campaign -- "HELP: For a
life without tobacco'' -- would complement other drives to counter smoking,
which he blamed for 650,000 deaths annually across the 25-nation EU.
"The sickness and death caused by smoking costs EU countries euro100 billion
(US$133 billion) a year,'' Kyprianou told a news conference.
"Prevention and information campaigns like "HELP'' are an investment in a
healthier and more prosperous future for our citizens.''
Ireland, Italy and Malta have already banned smoking in public places despite
sometimes fierce opposition and Kyprianou would like the other member states
to do likewise. At the moment though, he ruled out a common EU law on the
issue, preferring to let member states decide.
"I want to see a major shift in our society, where being smoke-free becomes
the norm and the smoke-addicted are a dwindling minority,'' He said. "If all
EU countries followed the lead of Ireland, Italy and Malta and banned smoking
in public places it would go a long way to achieving this.''
The EU head office also wants governments to put pictures -- from horrific to
humorous -- on cigarette packs to frighten or cajole smokers into quitting.
Tobacco is the single largest cause of avoidable death in the 25-nation EU.
The Commission said it accounts for 15 percent of all deaths and 25 percent of
all cancer deaths.
The HELP campaign will be targeted at teenagers and twenty-somethings, ages
where people might still be prevented from picking up the habit or still be
coaxed into quitting. Eighty-percent of smokers have picked up the habit in
their teenage years, Kyprianou said.
"Once hooked, it is a habit that takes many of them to an early grave,'' he
It is ironic, that we had realised from our Gurus the evil of smoking
centuries ago, and as Sikhs we have kept away from smoking generally,of course
some balck sheep are always present in any community.
But very sadly, I fear we as Sikhs are missing another opportunity to
publicise and raise the profile of our community, and the Guru Sahib's message to
humanity about the evils of smoking and the other kurahits.Sikhs seem to
have retreated into a self reassured cocoon- we dont seem to be concerend
-outside our own little world.
Why can't our so called NATIONAL organisations use this opportunity at
national level;our gurduaras at their local levels to run
workshops/educational sessions etc for the Sikhs and general public about the evils of smoking
revealed to us four centurieis ago.
Why not work with the national organisations and raise the profile of the
good non-smoking Sikh public etc, among the non- Sikhs.

Why not link in the naam simran sessions to wean people out of smoking and
other social nos.Mediataion is a way of relaxing for many people.After all
,it was through meditation Singh Sahib Bhai Harbhajan Singh ji ignited the
interest of the Sikh faith among the young americans.
It is sad that one of the main kurahits of sikhi is to refrain from smoking
tobacco,but how many people out there really know this?How many people out
there know it is almost an insult to offer a Sikh a ciggerate ,no matter how
social and a good friendly gesture a practice it may be in another culture.
How many times has this happened to Sikhs where, suddenly a non sikh offers a
ciggerrate?Many will quickly decline,but HOW many do take the opportunity to
explain to the person it is not regarded polite or friendly to offer a Sikh
a ciggerrete- but amounts to an almost insult to Sikhs.I am sure very few
have taken the trouble to do that.
In todays Britain, we pride as the third largest religion,yet many a time,
I have been offered a ciggerrete,which I have always declined but ensured,I
also made the point to explain Sikhs do not smake ,and that it can be
regarded as an insult.Of course, the same person does not repeat the mistake again.
On the other hand, no one would offer non kosher food to a jew, or non halal
or pork pies to a muslim.Everybody knows that.But few people know about Sikhs
and smoking.
Will Sikh bodies take on this opportunity to participate in helping people
come off smoking, and rais ethe Sikh view about smoking is bad for health.
Gurduaras can open up areas where people can pop in to discuss the evils of
smoking and explore ways to come of smoking, through the Sikh perspective.
Such activities can be also directed for Sikh alcoholics.Help them through
Nam simran and counselling to wean off alcohol.Alcohol is one of the biggest
vices o the Sikh people today.
One can travel from Malaysia to Australia, to USA, Canada to UK and Germany
to India,alcohol is the root cause of many problems with todays Sikh
Gurduaras are a major centre of Sikh lives and activities,as well as of
spiritual enlightenment.Therefore they have a real role to play in countering
such vices.They should be working in partnership with the local sangat and its
The problem is how to change the mindset prevalent presently among Gurduaras
and the sangats?It is only by involving together, and woking in partnership
that we can reaslise the dream of our community and work for its better
health and unity.
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