WHO offers help to Shah Rukh, Buddhadeb to quit smoking

September 11th, 2008 - 7:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Shah Rukh KhanNew Delhi, Sep 11 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO) Thursday offered to help Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to quit smoking.“They are big social, influential figures. We are ready to help them quit smoking. As a matter of principle, we are ready to help any one from a rickshaw puller to a celebrity,” Khalil Rahman, WHO coordinator for Tobacco Control, told IANS.

“By smoking in public places they are violating the law. We have nothing to say what they do in their private life but when they smoke in public, people get influenced,” he added.

Shah Rukh has been embroiled in controversy due to his smoking habit for the last few years and in a most recent case the actor was found smoking inside a Punjab college.

While the central health ministry has already expressed displeasure over the development, the state government is set to send a notice to him.

In India, smoking in public places like schools, colleges and government buildings is a violation of law.

Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss has appealed to both Shah Rukh and the West Bengal chief minister to quit smoking.

Rahman said they could provide Shah Rukh and Bhattacharjee special smoking cessation modules. “Their families can also be made aware so that they force these celebrities to stop smoking.”

“I am sure, many of those smoking know the ill effects of it but they don’t want to believe it. They need to strengthen their will power and leave the bad habit in a structured, step-by-step manner,” he added.

Rahman said some Bollywood celebrities like Vivek Oberoi and Shashi Kapoor were campaiging against tobacco consumption.

Health ministers of Southeast Asian countries, top officials and World Health Organisation (WHO) experts from 11 countries in the region are in New Delhi to deliberate on several health issues and formulate a road map for future on how to tackle them.

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