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SWAT hold anti-smoking concert

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Mumbai (UNI): Well-known city rock bands, including VAYU, Prayaag and Final Fall, performed here in solidarity with SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) against smoking. With anti-smoking hoardings and messages hung around the venue, hundreds of youngsters across the city swayed to the live performances of their favourite rock bands yesterday. Manager of SWAT, Reah Cama said ''We are not here to preach people against smoking, but encourage other non-smokers from taking their first puff.'' The entire exercise was voluntary and youngsters were encouraged to participate in similar events with a message not to smoke, she added.

Mr Siddarth Jain, alumni and founder member of SWAT, said it started as an inhouse activity. ''We had brain-storming ideas to gain experience as event management students, and some of us took intervals to smoke which resulted in the birth of SWAT,'' he added. Similarly, Kunal Malekar, student and member of SWAT said ''In the past I tried smoking, after joining SWAT I now spread the message not to touch your first cigarette.'' Echoing his friend, Vivek Nahata, student of EMDI, also quit smoking to join it. A study conducted by SWAT found that youngsters who refrained from smoking till the age of twenty-one will always remain a non-smoker.

Founder and Director of EMDI, Deepak Choudhary was of the opinion that there is enormous energy in the voice of the youth and that because of the same reason with great dynamism, the youth can influence society at large on issues such as smoking.'' A recent report by SWAT on Fifteen hundred respondents showed that the primary reason behind smoking is the influence of media and Bollywood. Escaping stress was the favourite secondary reason.

Lending voice to the anti-smoking campaign, vocalist Tirthankar Poddar of the band VAYU, said ''Gone are the days when rock was associated with all types of vices. Today everything is clean and a rock concert is subjected to regulations.'' Director EMDI Jateen Rajput observed that ''the whole cult is to drive the mind against the concept of smoking and for improving the community at large.''

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