Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], May 31: According to Global Youth Tobacco Survey-4, 38% of cigarette, 47% of bidi smokers and 52% of smokeless tobacco users in India initiated the use before their 10th birthday. In contrast, 71% of students thought other people’s cigarette smoking is harmful to them, whilst 58% favoured a ban on smoking inside enclosed public spaces. The Covid-19 pandemic laid a clear emphasis on the growing health crisis owing to tobacco consumption and the increased risk of diseases like TB, Cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and Asthma, amongst others.
On World No Tobacco Day, Apex Cancer Hospital, Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), in collaboration with Bollywood’s music composer duo Salim-Sulaiman launched a musical anthem, ‘Aaj Zindagi Jeete Hai’, aiming to use the universal language of music to engage youth and promote a healthy lifestyle free from tobacco use. The song was written by celebrated lyricist Irfan Siddiqui. Delhi Police has been a significant pillar of strength supporting this campaign throughout.
While launching the campaign, Bollywood music composer Salim Merchant said, “We fully support India vs Tobacco campaign, which is a step towards spreading public awareness around the harmful effects of tobacco consumption in India. We have always believed that music has the power to change the world. We are humbled to be part of a campaign that will engage youth meaningfully towards choosing a healthy lifestyle free from tobacco use. With the support of Vital Strategies and the innovative approach of WebRangers Entertainment, we are certain our little effort will inspire and potentially create a cadre of young changemakers to help spread awareness about the health hazards of tobacco. Every death from tobacco is preventable, and our entertainment industry has the potential to be part of this change” Sharing his views, Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, Surgeon, Department of Head Neck Cancer, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, said, “Tobacco use is a leading preventable killer in the world, and in India, it is responsible for around 1 million deaths annually. We believe while evidence-based hard-hitting mass media campaigns will continue to create intentions of behaviour change among the masses to quit tobacco use, new initiatives such as “Aaj Zindagi Jeete Hai” have the potential to engage audiences, especially our youngsters, on musical and digital platforms. This multi-stakeholder initiative will converge the efforts of various government agencies and organizations under the #IndiavsTobacco umbrella campaign to ultimately enhance the health status of the people. We express our deepest appreciation towards Salim Sulaiman and their team in their efforts to use a varied medium of communication for supporting our tobacco control efforts.”
This campaign was developed with the technical support of global health organization Vital Strategies under a partnership with WebRangers Entertainment, a prominent digital marketing and entertainment company. The company uses their expertise in influencer marketing to unite an impressive array of digital personalities to enrich the campaign further.
Chintan Pavlankar, Founder and CEO of WebRangers Entertainment, stated, "India ranks as the second-largest tobacco user globally, and it's not just about developing a harsh cough - it's tied to some serious chronic diseases such as heart attack, cancer, chronic lung conditions, diabetes, and more.
Despite a complete ban on tobacco advertising in India, you may have noticed that tobacco products are still often portrayed in a positive light, especially on social media. This representation is a significant part of the problem. With millions of young, highly active internet and social media users in India, it's easy to see why this is a major concern. However, it's not all doom and gloom! At WebRangers, we're harnessing the power of social media and digital marketing for a campaign aimed at educating young people about the risks of starting tobacco use, thereby preventing initiation and protecting them from tobacco-related diseases. We're pleased to collaborate with Vital Strategies, known for its technical expertise in evidence-based public health campaigns. I also want to acknowledge Salim-Sulaiman, Tata Memorial Centre, and Delhi Police for launching a superb initiative called 'Aaj Zindagi Jeete Hai'. What a fantastic day to make a difference!”
The 2:05 minute song "Aaj Zindagi Jeete Hai" will be available across all audio streaming platforms such as Gaana, JioSaavn, Resso, Spotify, Hungama, YouTube Music, Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music, and Wynk Music. The accompanying video will be uploaded to the YouTube channel of Salim-Sulaiman, which has a reach of 1.84M subscribers. Additionally, a 15-second promotional audio snippet of the song will be broadcast on Radio City from 31st May to 1st June, targeting audiences in Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Lucknow, and Jaipur.
To further amplify the campaign song's impact, flash mobs and engagement with youth communities will be organized alongside active promotion on social media throughout the month.