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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Turn Your Back On E-cigarettes

THIS is with reference to the news report ‘Govt takes ordinance route to ban e-cigarettes’ (NT, September 19, 2019). The decision by the central government to ban the manufacture, sale, storage, transport, import and export of e-smoking devices is a step to be lauded. E-cigarette smoking was started in the pious hope that it would prove to be a safe alternative to the conventional tobacco cigarettes which contain harmful carcinogenic chemicals in addition to nicotine. The difference in e-cigarette smoking is that the smoker gets the stimulation of nicotine but not of the harmful carcinogens. A battery-powered device heats up the nicotine and the flavour to create a vapour that is inhaled by the smoker, instead of the smoke . ‘Vaping’ as it is popularly called thus eliminates many of the toxins which are produced by the burning of tobacco. Although there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to cigarette smoking, the World Health Organisation has refused to endorse vaping as a  nicotine-replacement therapy. Several cases of lung infection have been detected in e-cigarette smokers. Neither is it proved that vaping is an alternative tool for quitting smoking. And because of the flavouring agents, it is found that schoolchildren are also getting hooked on to e-cigarettes as they are easily affordable and can be enjoyed collectively by friends.

A  F NAZARETH, ALTO PORVORIM

Ban Normal Cigarettes As Well

THE central government has taken the welcome step of banning e-cigarettes, saying that e-cigarette causes addiction amongst youngsters. But same is true for normal cigarettes also. Demands for banning manufacture and sale of cigarettes has been repeatedly made. Unfortunately the tobacco lobby in the country is so strong that it even compelled the group of ministers in the earlier UPA regime to change area size and design of pictorial warnings on cigarette packs against wishes of  the then Union health minister Dr A Ramadoss and officials of the Union health ministry. The area size of a pictorial warning on cigarette packs in India is lowest in the world with Brazil even having 100-per cent area on both front and pack panels of cigarette packs. Pictorial warnings however bigger are totally useless and ineffective for smokers. The only remedy is to follow countries like Bhutan and Ireland and impose a complete ban on manufacture and sale of cigarettes in the country. Even family members of smokers will support such a bold step because it is the family which suffers from the death of a person caused by smoking. Smoking is an addiction begins out of fashion at a young age. Revenue loss from the ban on cigarettes will be more than compensated: the funds will get saved which otherwise will be spent  on  treating tobacco related diseases.

MADHU AGRAWAL, DELHI

Streetlights Can’t Be ‘On’ During Daytime

STREETLIGHTS are seen ‘on’ during daytime at several places in the state. The concerned authorities  shut their eyes to the gross waste of electricity. During the recent Ganesh Chaturthi  too, streetlights at different locations in Ponda taluka were found ‘on’  during most part of  the day. I sincerely request senior officials of the power  department to take a note of  the waste of electricity and initiate appropriate  steps to stop  this wastage permanently.

PRAVIN U SARDESSAI, ADPAI

Tribulations Of A Star Footballer

STORIES about stars and celebrities falling on bad times and depending on the largesse of their colleagues to help them tide over are not rare. Managing whatever fortune they amassed during their heydays rather unprofessionally, many are known to have had pitiable existence thereafter, passing the rest of their lives in near anonymity. But some sagas are known to have their own share of shocks and surprises. The case of ace footballer Uday Konar in Mumbai for instance. In the face of harassment from local goons backed by influential people in the area who are looking to evict him from the hawking space at the Colaba Causeway, Konar is at the risk of losing his only means of livelihood to the might of land sharks. When it is averred that apart from the space from where his father ran a newspaper stall since the 1960s, the land mafia is all intent on grabbing control of all the spots allotted to his family in the close vicinity; one can well understand his desperation. The very fact that Konar has not been able to elicit any response from official agencies against the intimidation and harassment meted out to him speaks of a nexus powerful enough to silence the authorities. As so rightly said it is a typical ordeal for a street vendor who gets targeted by powerful lobbies which can use force and bullying tactics to evict them. But how can the administration be silent to the plight of the star player who has brought many laurels to the state and various clubs he represented in a decorated football career. Besides playing for Mumbai’s top outfits, Konar was also part of the Maharashtra squad that won the gold medal in football at the 1999 National Games as well as the 2000 Santosh Trophy. Yet, is he nothing more than a street vendor for the state government now! Such an indifference towards one of its sporting heroes just does not behove well for the Maharashtra government. When it comes to matters of livelihood, it is essential that the administration takes a stringent view of the whole matter and ensures that the Konar family is allowed to operate from their ancestral hawing spots.

PACHU MENON, MARGAO

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