Every day in India, another 55,000 children start smoking – compared with the 3,000 children who take up the habit in the USA, where numbers are falling. Tobacco is one of India’s favourite pastimes: Indians spit it, chew it, smoke it, roll it everywhere. And, inspired by advertising which sponsors the Indian cricket team, children believe the smoking improves cricketing techniques. Hardly surprising, then, that with declining markets in the west, and 50 per cent of India’s population under the age of 25, the major tobacco companies are increasingly targetting India as their new growth market. This ‘Life’ programme explores the cynicism of the major global tobacco companies’ campaigns in India, and the work of the activists who have pledged to try to stop them – and halt the soaring increase in cancer cases in India that result from smoking.
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