Filmstar Shatrughan Sinha suggests herbal farming instead of tobacco

Filmstar Shatrughan Sinha suggests herbal farming instead of tobacco

In a news published in the Patna Daily, the noted film-star of Bollywood Shatrughan Sinha, who was also India’s former health minister, said that “by 2020, 13% of total deaths in India would be directly related with mouth and lung cancer caused by prolonged smoking and use of other tobacco products.”

"There is an urgent need to spread the awareness about the deadly effects of tobacco products in the nation, particularly in rural areas where most people still remain ignorant to the ill effects of tobacco," said the film-star Shatrughan.

Most importantly he advised the tobacco growers to turn to other crops instead of tobacco, like herbal products. He suggested herbal products because the demand of herbal products is growing ‘exponentially throughout the world’.

Last year in July 2007, when the 148 nations' Conference on parties (COP-II) meet on global tobacco treaty was held in Thailand, India had demonstrated leadership on behalf of countries in South-East Asian Region to integrate agricultural diversification and alternative crops to tobacco in the comprehensive tobacco control.

Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is the first global corporate accountability and public health treaty in the world.

Though transnational tobacco corporations like Philip Morris/Altria, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco use sophisticated public relations machinery to claim that tobacco-related agriculture creates jobs and boosts economic development, the facts speak otherwise.

Transnational tobacco corporations have created a supply system that exploits farmers while assuring growth in corporate profits.

Support to farmers and tobacco growing countries is vital.

Only five of the 125 tobacco exporting nations derive more than 5 per cent of their export from tobacco. These five nations are concentrated at the bottom of UNDP's 2006 Human Development Index: Uganda , Zimbabwe , United Republic of Tanzania, Malawi , and the Central African Republic .

Far from being a path to prosperity, tobacco production paves the way to poverty.

Photo credit: bollywood village

Published in My News, India