Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A mass love affair with tobacco in all its forms

Here in India, I see people consuming tobacco in more forms than I knew existed. I must not have paid attention before.

Right from the morning, on my way to breakfast I see old ladies who sell vegetables popping some brown stuff from shiny sachets into their mouths. I have seen these being sold in newsstands and pan shops. These packets hang in long strips and people buy 1 or 2 at a time. They are ubiquitous and dirt cheap.

India is apparently the second biggest consumer of tobacco in the world, right after China. But unlike China and the rest of the world, in India cigarettes make up only 30% of the tobacco consumption. The rest of it is sold as beedies, gutka, Zarda and chewing tobacco.

Since I haven’t personally experienced the alluring call of tobacco (coffee is my addiction) it is perhaps easy for me to question this attraction. But at another level I fully understand. I see hordes of people here, in what looks to me like very monotonous jobs with no prospects. They have to get through not just the day, but the week, and even the years.

Undoubtedly the tobacco helps. Because it can suppress appetite, angst and even ambition.

1 comment:

  1. i like cigars and its smell

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