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New Campaign Shows Heart Breaking Effects of Smoking Bidis

Thursday, July 28, 2011

(New Delhi, India and New York, USA) - A national tobacco control campaign launched today in India to warn people about the dangers of bidi smoking. The campaign, developed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with support from World Lung Foundation, graphically depicts a bidi smoker suffering a heart attack. It also shows the emotional heartbreak a family suffers when a loved one or the main wage earner dies from smoking. The nationwide campaign, called ‘Heartbreak,’ will air on all major TV and radio channels throughout August. Viewers also will be able to see the videos and take action at

The ‘Heartbreak’ campaign’s main message is: ‘Quitting smoking is hard, but the consequence of not quitting is harder’. The rigorously tested campaign ad was found to motivate bidi smokers to quit before they become sick. It assures them that quitting is possible.

Some of the graphic images including footage of an actual heart attack from the ‘Heartbreak’ campaign to warn people about the dangers of bidi smoking

Shri Keshav Desiraju, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said, “It is important for everyone to be involved in communicating the message about the harmful effects of smoking bidis and cigarettes. We need to reach out to those who are addicted in order to help them quit.”

Research has shown mass media campaigns are one of the most effective means to prompt people to stop smoking. It is one of the World Health Organization’s M-P-O-W-E-R (W=Warn) strategies to reduce tobacco consumption. M-P-O-W-E-R strategies are endorsed and promoted by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, of which World Lung Foundation is a principal partner.

Bidi Smoking in India
Bidi, a hand-rolled leaf cigarette, is the second most highly consumed tobacco product in India. The highest consumers are lower-income and rural sections of the population, which are among the most vulnerable. Families suffer additional economic hardships when smoking-related illness occurs to the primary bread-winner. Research among bidi and cigarette smokers identified a significant lack of knowledge about the diseases caused by smoking. Testing of the ‘Heartbreak’ ads confirmed that many Indian families do not know smoking is the largest risk factor contributing to heart attacks.

The ‘Heartbreak’ TV and radio public service announcements are available upon request.

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About World Lung Foundation

World Lung Foundation was established in response to the global epidemic of lung disease, which kills 10 million people each year. The organization also works on maternal and infant mortality reduction initiatives. WLF improves global health by improving local health capacity, by supporting operational research, by developing public policy and by delivering public education. The organization’s areas of emphasis are tobacco control, maternal and infant mortality prevention, tuberculosis, asthma, and child lung health. For more information, please visit

For more information, please contact Jorge Alday, World Lung Foundation, at +1.212.639.0070 or

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