An excise duty higher than the price of a cigarette. Death of father due to excessive smoking. Watching Mukesh on the deathbed in cinema halls. Two broken relationships due to bad breath. Rahul Dravid getting run out due to partner’s mistake. All these could not deter 25-year-old Raunak from smoking, until the price of mouth freshener increased after the introduction of GST.
Raunak, a resident of New Delhi, got addicted to smoking soon after his father, who was a chain smoker, passed away due to lung cancer. Despite making several efforts to quit the harmful habit, he failed. Friends and family eventually distanced themselves from Raunak owing to the habit. “Both my girlfriends started dating me when they realised that I am rich as I spent a huge amount on cigarettes,” said Raunak, who regrets smoking as the same girls left him for his horrible breath.
After the implementation of GST, Raunak could not afford to buy the expensive chewing gum which had served him as a mouth freshener for years. “Every time I bought myself a chewing gum, the thought of not being able to buy a mouth freshener killed me more than the tobacco in a cigarette ever can!” he said, “and I had to, eventually, quit it.”
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court faced immense pressure to ban cigarettes in the view of environment protection. Raunak’s decision to quit smoking was hailed by the Supreme Court. “After banning the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR, people started questioning us about the pollution caused by due to smoking. Rather than banning cigarettes and tobacco, we chose to increase the price of mouth fresheners,” said a judge at the Supreme Court.
The move has been termed a major success by environmentalists across the country. Judges at the Supreme Court burst firecrackers outside the court to celebrate their victory over pollution.