The Tobacco-free Revolution

No-smokingThe BPO and Call center culture has brought about quite a lot of changes – some positive and some negative. Though critics and well-wishers are right in saying that there the changes are more of negative, especially in India, there would be no denying the fact that there a lot of changes that are positive as well.

One such welcome change was the tobacco-free revolution that brought about a change in the smoking habits of quite a few BPO employees. Smoking had become a fashion statement for these employees working in BPOs, majority of them youth. What started as a reason to stay awake in the night shifts that, they had to work in, soon became an addiction that was difficult to get rid off.

I have been witness to my friend and colleagues in my organization becoming chain smokers. No sooner has one cigarette finished, that they light another one. Then they would blame the entire habit on the night shifts and the work pressure. I would often wonder as to how smoking relieved somebody of the work pressure. Nevertheless, smokers felt so.

In just about a few days, a small cigarette shop popped up outside the office premises and business boomed for him. Who cares even if it is at the cost of somebody’s life.

Then came the tobacco-free revolution and banners popped up everywhere urging people to quite smoking and that smoking within office premises was banned. The otherwise official smoking zone in the organization turned into a garden and employees had to walk a bit of distance to go outside the office premises to smoke. Soon people felt the pain to walk outside the premises, though some of them still had the motivation to do it. The others, started to quit smoking slowly and cited various other reasons for it.

Whatever the reasons quoted, this change in culture at least ensured that the youth in India are not sacrificed to the deadly habit of smoking.

Photograph courtesy Vivek Chugh