Youth film mak­ers awarded to­bacco- con­trol prizes

Pakistan Observer - - TWIN CITIES - 04: 50 01: 30 05: 30 08: 30 STAFF RE­PORTER

IS­LAM­ABAD— In an at­tempt to counter to­bacco in­dus­try mar­ket­ing cam­paign to en­tice youth, TheNet­work for Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion has launched on a cam­paign to en­gage stu­dents of lead­ing schools of twin cities to make films on to­bacco con­trol and re­tireve the so­cial me­dia space oc­cu­pied by the to­bacco in­dus­try.

In this re­gard a spe­cial cer­e­mony was held in Bea­con House in Rawalpindi to award those film mak­ers who pro­duced to­bacco con­trol films and re­ceived max­i­mum likes on face­book. The first po­si­tion was bagged by Qasim Mehmood fol­lowed by Muham­mad Am­mad’s and his team in the se­cond place and Muham­mad Faraz and his team stood third in the short film mak­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

In­ter­est­ingly, there was no jury to eval­u­ate the com­pet­ing films. In­stead face­book likes were used as a cri­te­rion to se­lect the best three.

Ex­plain­ing the theme of the com­pe­ti­tion Dr Maria Ahmed Qureshi said that the pres­ence of a huge num­ber of youth as part of Pak­istani pop­u­la­tion is quite mouth wa­ter­ing for the to­bacco in­dus­try. No won­der it wants to make it nico­time ad­dic­tive that would trans­late into a huge num­ber of loyal cus­tomers for at least the next 40 years. The to­bacco in­dus­try is tar­get­ing youth by us­ing dif­fer­ent tac­tics to pro­mote to­bacco use among youth play­ing havoc with chil­dren’s lives us­ing var­i­ous ad­ver­tis­ing meth­ods such as pro­vid­ing col­or­ful posters with catchy slo­gans to shop keep­ers, power walls, re­tailer in­cen­tives, brand­ing of shops, well de­signed and brightly colored at­trac­tive cig­a­rette packs and other pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties. But its un­for­tu­nate, she lamented, that whereas these fam­i­lies hos­pi­tal bills will in­crease so will the gov­ern­ment’s rev­enue. A gov­ern­ment sur­vey Global Youth To­bacco sur­vey 2014 shows that 13.3 pc boys and 6.6pc girls ( aged 13- 15 years) are cur­rently to­bacco smok­ers. Ev­i­dences show that the smok­ing trends are on a rise and if cur­rent smok­ing trends con­tinue we will soon be fac­ing an un­con­trol­lable to­bacco epi­demic where the pro­duc­tiv­ity of our fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will be greatly re­duced due to deadly to­bacco re­lated causes such as can­cers, heart dis­ease, res­pi­ra­tory dis­eases, dam­ages to the ner­vous sys­tem , in­fer­til­ity etc.

She re­vealed that it’s very un­for­tu­nate that the to­bacco in­dus­try is al­lowed to tar­get youth in schools, col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties on the name cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity ( CSR).

Ask­ing the win­ning stu­dents and their par­ents to ex­press how the first hand ex­pe­ri­ence to learn about to­bacco and its in­dus­try af­fected their per­spec­tives. The win­ner of first prize Qasim Mehmood said that it was good ex­pe­ri­ence to make film on to­bacco con­trol; it is se­ri­ous threat for health and now we are to­bacco con­trol ad­vo­cates. Muham­mad Am­mad win­ner of the se­cond prize said that it chal­leng­ing to build a com­par­i­son be­tween a smoker and non smoker. Ands to con­vince upon the au­di­ences that non smok­ing is a pre­ferred op­tion. “It was great op­por­tu­nity to learn about to­bacco in­dus­try tac­tics to promte smok­ing in our schools,” he added.

Muham­mad Faraz win­ner of third prize said that from here we will go straight to a party where we will es­tab­lish that youth can have fun with­out to­bacco. He promised to play a pro- ac­tive role to end the men­ace of smok­ing from schools.

The par­ents of the win­ners also ex­pressed their views on the com­pe­ti­tion stat­ing that it is good plat­form for chil­dren to de­velop their own per­spec­tive about on moral is­sues, such type of cam­paign should be con­tin­ued in fu­ture to boost the ef­forts for to­bacco con­trol and sen­si­tize the chil­dren about to­bacco dan­ger and dif­fer­ent tact’s used by in­dus­try. They paid thanks to TheNet­work for ar­rang­ing film mak­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

One of the suc­cess story of the in­ter­ven­tion was that a group of stu­dents were in­spired to es­tab­lish their own stu­dio where they will be pro­duc­ing anti- smok­ing movies and place it on so­cial me­dia.

Ms Sidra Qasim, Prin­ci­pal, Bea­con­house School Rawalpindi, that hosted the event said that such ac­tiv­i­ties where stu­dents are in­volved di­rectly in the en­tire process from un­der­stand­ing the con­cept and de­vel­op­ing a short film to be­come an ad­vo­cate of that idea gets deeply in­grained in their minds.

“Such com­pe­ti­tions also en­cour­age,” she em­pha­sized, “stu­dents to ex­plore their abil­i­ties, pol­ish their ideas and pro­mote pub­lic health ob­jec­tives. She said that chil­dren should not waste their par­ent’s money on pur­chas­ing to­bacco prod­ucts as this will be a de­cep­tion not only to­wards their par­ents but to them­selves as well. She ap­pre­ci­ated the ef­forts of TheNet­work and said that such col­lab­o­ra­tive should con­tinue for the bet­ter­ment of our youth.

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