Can role model for millions, Barack Obama, afford to smoke? During his first health check-up as the US President on Tuesday, Obama was asked by the doctors to kick the habit. Otherwise declared to be “in excellent health”, Obama has been struggling to quit smoking since January 2007.
HT City takes a look at our own role models, from Bollywood, who have been battling the killer stick. In August, 2008, Shah Rukh, a chain smoker for 20 years, promised to give up cigarettes for the sake of his children. “They don’t like me smoking,” he had said. He is yet to give it up, though. In 2009, actor Ranbeer Kapoor decided to give up smoking as a birthday gift for his then girlfriend, actress Deepika Padukone. The same year actor Salman Khan, too, confessed about trying to kick the butt. “Smoking is something people start to either enter a social circle or to show off,” he had said.
However, watching stars struggle to quit smoking, gives youngsters an excuse to continue with the addiction. “When we see an achiever like Shah Rukh taking to cigarettes to get relief from tension, we too are influenced, We think if SRK is doing it, it can’t be that bad,” says Neeraj Singh, a student in Sri Venkateswara College.
“Young people are very susceptible and always eager to emulate role models,” says Dr (Brig.) S Sudarshanan, psychiatrist, BLK Memorial. “If they see someone like Obama struggling to quit and finally succeed, it would leave a positive impact,” he adds.
Then there are some who aren’t as star-struck. “I don’t give a damn if Obama smokes or not,” says Aditya Shrivastva, a marketing manager who smokes 20 cigarettes daily. “I try each morning to quit. Clearly it’s not working. I can empathise with Obama’s failure.”
Earlier this year, actor Aamir Khan gave up smoking and alcohol overnight. “I just felt like doing it from within,” he said.