No smoking: Meet Disha, a girl who aims to make India a tobacco-free country

Disha Tiwari is a 14-year-old girl on a mission, unlike other girls her age, who bury themselves in books or are busy clicking selfies at their favourite spots. Disha has no time to kill. She is tirelessly working to raise awareness about the ill-effects of smoking and helps in encouraging and helping people quit smoking

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So far, in our series of strong independent women who are working for noble causes, we have featured women who have made a contribution to the medical world through their selfless services. We have also included women who are working for the betterment of society, who are associated with various social causes and making a difference.

Disha Tiwari is our youngest crusader; this girl is on a mission to encourage people to quit smoking. Through her campaign ‘No Smoking.’

Since the last nine years, this Indore resident has been advocating against the harmful effects of smoking and tobacco consumption. Her goal and vision is to make India free from the crutches of cigarette smoking.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra about what prompted her to take this initiative, Disha said, “When I was a child I lost my grandfather due to his habit of smoking, and that is why I hate cigarettes. No one should lose their loved ones due to smoking.”

She added, “I started this campaign (NO SMOKING) when I was just five years old, my parents helped and supported me a lot for this. When I was a child, if someone smoked, I used to snatch away their cigarette and throw it. I made them understand that I lost my grandfather due to cigarette smoking and requested them to give it up.”

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When Disha started out with this campaign, she just had the support and encouragement of her parents and extended family. But now, even her colony friends actively help her in raising awareness about the harmful habit of cigarette smoking.

A beaming Disha stated, “I am not alone in my campaign. My friends who are the same age as me help me in every way possible. Apart from me, my team includes 15 friends who are teenagers like me who wish to see a brighter future for the youth of our country. Smoking is a very harmful habit.”

Cigarette smoking is injurious to your health’, is written on the cigarette packs as well as when we go to watch movies in the theatre. Often, we are warned about the ill effects like heart disease, stroke, cancer, lung cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) but we never pay attention towards it.

Disha further said, “People know the ill effects of smoking. Still, they smoke. So, this query used to be always there in my mind.”

She shared that she is very proud of the work she does. Disha explained that she and her friends observe ‘No Smoking Day’ and ‘No Tobacco Day’ each year. Disha said, “This year, we performed street plays in our locality to highlight this subject. After the street play was over people, people came up to me and ask me about what they can do to raise awareness. I was happy with their response.”

Since nine years, Disha is actively advocating her ‘No Smoking Mission’. Nearly 10,000 people have been attached to the ‘No Smoking’ mission. About 60 per cent of people have stopped smoking. She has also maintained a book which contains information of a person’s name, number and the assurance of not smoking. She regularly follows up with these people.

Disha said, “Cigarette smoking is harmful for health. Even if you don’t smoke, tell your near and dear ones to stop smoking. This will help them to get rid of it.

Apart from her, the youngest member on her team is her 4-year-old brother who also participates in events. He does what she used to do when she was younger. He goes up to people and explains them about the harmful effects of smoking.