My husband also used tobacco and finally succumbed to this lethal habit

Mrs Pednekar’s letter to Mrs Deveshwar (ITC Chairman’s wife)

Dear Mrs Deveshwar,

I read about the sad demise of Mr Deveshwar after prolonged battle with cancer. My deepest condolences. I can feel your loss and pain because I am also a widow who lost my husband after a painful struggle with cancer. Just like your husband, my husband also used tobacco and finally succumbed to this lethal habit. While they considered it as their personal choice, their loss pushed their family into vortex of grief, loneliness and financial insecurity.

They also subjected us to great amount of second hand exposure! Millions of women in India have been widowed and kids have been orphaned because of cigarettes of ITC. Despite the claims of diversification, vast majority of the profits of ITC still come from sale of their cigarettes. ITC has systematically challenged or resisted every effort to control tobacco. I call ITC and all tobacco companies the “Factory of Widows and Orphans”. Filled with anger and disgust, I decided to fight against this evil on my own with help other tobacco victims

Cigarette kills every third person prematurely. Why to market a product when it has no good use whatsoever except causing death and disability?

I would hope ITC would learn from the loss of their beloved CEO and your personal grief in shutting down this lethal business. While tobacco industry is making vulgar profits by selling cancer, families are getting destroyed emotionally and financially.

Please join our fight against “Merchants of Death” and save innocent women and kids. Lets appeal to the Government not to invest in tobacco companies.

A number of models who have portrayed the Marlboro Man have died of lung cancer. Rasiklal Dhariwal, chairman of Manikchand group of companies, known as the ‘gutkha baron’, died miserably of cancer. Vijay Mallya, alcohol baron, is in jail. Let’s appeal to the owners/promoters of cancer that God is watching their “Karma” and divine justice will prevail.

Sumitra Pednekar

Fighter against Tobacco

Mumbai

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