Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has been requested by a national anti-tobacco organisation to withdraw himself from the ad campaign promoting pan masala. It said that the move would help stop the youngsters from getting addicted to tobacco.
As per a report on TOI, in a letter to Amitabh Bachchan, Shekhar Salkar, President, National Organization for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE), said that medical research has proved that addiction to tobacco and pan masala decays the health of the citizens, especially the youth, and said that since Big B is the government brand ambassador for the high profile pulse polio campaign, he should drop out from the pan masala ads as soon as possible.
The letter further stated, “Pan (betel leaf) can act as a direct carcinogenic. Recent research has shown that the substances in betel quid could change into carcinogens in the body, leading to oral cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) accept the scientific evidence that chewing betel quids (pan) is carcinogenic for humans”.
Adding that students have now become a target audience for cigarette and tobacco companies, the letter further stated, “As an oncologist and member of an NGO working in the field of tobacco cessation, I am aggrieved and provoked to wage war against the dubious measures, such embellishment done by various influential and famous Bollywood actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Ajay Devgn, Ranveer Singh and Hrithik Roshan, leading to increased tobacco use among students.”
Earlier also the National Organization for Tobacco Eradication targeted many celebrities over smoking in public. In 2010, Ajay Devgn was fined for smoking at a public place in Panaji.