JORHAT, Aug 18 - Barely at a distance of 18 kms (north) from Jorhat city, several residents of a hamlet named Baghmora Potiagaon have recently given an example of convincing many of their family members and neighbours to give up the habit of consuming tobacco, which was detected to be 50 per cent causes of various types of cancer and many other diseases.
As they continued the anti-tobacco campaign since the last Magh Bihu celebration, 80 per cent of the locals now say that they have been able to reap the benefit of the campaign within a short period.
�Many elderly citizens, who used to smoke and chew khaini, gave up their old habit after the campaigners taught them gently about the hazardous effects of tobacco. We have used our rituals and the functions as the bet platforms for the awareness programme,� said Bitul Dutta, the secretary of the development committee of Baghmora Potiagaon.
Along with him, several locals said that they could not sensitise majority of the locals (most of whom are farmers) until they received the guidance of Dr Bhaktimoy Bhattacharya, the nodal officer of the district tobacco control cell, and his team members who have already made many other villages and the premises of the educational institutions �completely tobacco-free zones in the district�.
Some of the local youths, who continued the anti-tobacco campaign in the hamlet said that during the start of their campaign, it was very difficult for them to convince the elderly citizens for avoiding their �old habit of smoking and chewing�, but it became easier for them after the medical officer and his team of social workers gave demonstration in public places.
They said that the rate of suffering from common vertigo among the elderly citizens has been reduced by the efforts and the locals have clearly understood it. The efforts of the local youths like Jagannath Agni Bora, Bitul Dutta and many others were praised by the elderly citizens who also played a significant role in preventing the use of tobacco in traditional and religious functions at Namghar and other public places of Baghmora Potiagaon.
�We can do a lot for the greater interest of people if united. Tobacco must be given up to reduce the rate of suffering from various diseases from high blood pressure to fatal cancer,� said Jagannath Agni Bora.
As they could prevent the consumption and illicit trade of tobacco in their area, the Jorhat district administration appreciated their noble effort by awarding them with a certificate of appreciation during the celebration of the Independence Day programme at the Kachari Maidan.
The Jorhat Deputy Commissioner, Solanki Vishal Vasant, personally visited the place some days ago and praised the effort of the locals and the officials of the district tobacco control cell of Jorhat.
�It is absolutely praiseworthy. We should extend this kind of noble effort to other villages and district to save everyone from the hazardous effect of tobacco,� said Narayan Talukdar, an officer of the State Cultural Affairs Department.