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With the start of a new year, comes another chance to tackle those New Year’s resolutions.

And one of the most common, and perhaps most difficult, resolution is the decision to quit smoking. Reasons for quitting may vary from the growing cost of cigarettes to health factors, family members or partners forcing you to quit. And while some determined people manage to stick to their resolutions and give up the habit for good, most go back to smoking within the first month itself, or so say our local panwaadis. We spoke to some of the many panwaadis across NCR, who say that though they see a dip in sales thanks to these resolutions, they rarely see their customers quit entirely.

Dip in sales after new year’s
Panwaadis across NCR notice a dip in sales, but they remain confident that sales will pick up in the next few weeks. Pankaj, who owns a paan shop near INA, says, “Some people quit during the first few weeks of January, but they almost always come back. Business is down by about 20% during that period, but it always picks up. People also make many bahanas to start smoking again. I’ve heard people saying things like ‘sardi ka mausam hai, ek cigarette toh chalta hai’. And within a month, that one sutta turns into several.”

Ajay, who owns a cigarette shop in Sarita Vihar, says, “I’ve noticed a 20-25% decline in business just after New Year’s for the past few years and I’ve even had conversations with customers who say they want to quit or cut down on smoking to start the year on a positive note. But they come back everyday anyway. There is a definite decline, but sales pick up after a while.” Jeetu, who sells cigarettes near Green Park Metro Station, says, “Every January our cigarette sales go down by at least 30%. But it lasts for only a week or two, our regular customers return within that period. I’ve seen this happen over the past five years, but we don’t decrease our stocks because woh waapas toh aa hi jaatein hain.”

Baliram, who owns a kiosk in Gurgaon’s Sector 29 market, says that he’s been witnessing this trend for the last five years. “January means that the sales will go down by 50%. Har saal January ke pehle do-teen hafton mein sales ekdum down ho jaata hai. Regular customers kehte hain ki humne aaj se chodh diya phoonkna.” Raju has been selling cigarettes in Noida’s Sector 62 for close to 10 years now. He says he notices a fall in the sale of cigarettes every January but it is short-lived. “Har saal, kareeb 20-25% kam hoti hain cigarette ki sale New year ke baad. Log kehte hain ki kuch promise jaisa kiya hai khud ke saath, par zyada din chalta nahi ye. Log toh 10-15 din me dobaara aa hi jaate hain,” he says.

Resolution ditched within first month
Akshay, a panwaadi near Hauz Khas, says, “We do see a decline in the first 10 days of January, but most of our usual customers return. We are located near an office, and most people smoke when they come out for a quick break. So the resolution lasts for about a week. When people get over the fact that it’s a new year, and the celebrations are over, people return to their regular routine.” Raju, a cigarette vendor in Lajpat Nagar, says, “New year pe jo kasam khaatein hain log, unko todne mein logon ko utna time nahi lagta. Do hafton mein customers waapas aa jaatein hain. Kuch aise hotein hain jo sutta kam kar lete hain – packet ki jagah loose cigarettes letein hain. But woh bhi do hafton se zyaada nahi chalta.”

Aarti, a cigarette seller near Akshardham Metro station, says, “Many people decide to give up gutka, cigarettes or beedis, but they aren’t able to stick to it. We have seen them coming back to our shop within a few days. Abhi cigarette bikna kam ho gayi hai, par agle hafte se log waapas aa jaayenge.” Mahesh, who runs a cigarette shop near GK’s M block market, says, “Kal ek customer, jo roz ek pack leta hai, bol raha tha ki usne naye saal ke liye cigarette peeni chod di hai. Lekin har saal aise log aatein hain, aur har saal yehi baatein hoti hain. For a few weeks sales do go down, but they pick up again as the time passes. It also depends sometimes on the locality of the shop. Near offices and pubs, sales aren’t too affected.” Brijesh Kumar, who owns a paan shop near Ashram, says, “I have seen hundreds of youngsters quitting smoking because, ‘girlfriend ne kasam di hai.’ I am yet to see someone who quits smoking because, ‘naye saal ka resolution hai’. Paanch-das din me waapas aa jate hain, kuch log ek mahine baad waapas aate hain. It’s all about determination.”

Smoking is the hardest resolution to stick to
Ankush Verma, a HR professional who stays in Malviya Nagar, says, “Last year, I tried to quit smoking, but I could manage only for a couple of weeks. Quitting smoking is the most common resolution, but one needs to be really disciplined to actually do it. This year I have decided to try and quit smoking, and in the last two days I haven’t smoked, but I know that when I go to office, I won’t be able to manage without a smoke. We have sutta buddies, and even when you aren’t smoking, you accompany them for sutta breaks and end up feeling tempted.” Anand Mahajan, a 27-year-old who stays in Gurgaon’s sector 35, says, “For the last two years, I’ve made resolutions to quit smoking. Last year, I didn’t smoke for six months, but quitting smoking is the one resolution that rarely works. As the new year begins, I decide that this will be a non-smoking year and I go without smoking for a few months. But I end up smoking again while partying.” Kavya, who works with an advertising firm in the city, says, “I’ve made resolutions two years in a row to quit, or at least cut down. I stick to it for two months or so, but after that I’m back to where I started. I switched to lighter cigarettes this year.”

Weather and job stress biggest factors
Shruti, who is pursuing her MA from DU and lives in Mehrauli, says, “I’ve been making the same resolution – to quit smoking – for three years now. I think it’s a bad idea to try and quit smoking in the winter, because I always end up smoking one cigarette within a week. This year, I’ve again made that resolution. I haven’t smoked yet and I hope it lasts. If not, I’ll quit smoking from Holi.” The experienced sellers know that the fad will gradually fade away. "Har saal ka tamasha hai.

Corporate life bahut tension waali hai, aur tension mein aadmi cigarette peeta hai. Hum nahi chahte ki logon ki tabiyat kharab ho, par cigarette unki zaroorat ban gayi hai. Pandrah din baad nahi control hogi unse aur wapas utni hi peene lagenge," says Subhash Yadav, who has been running a paan shop for a decade in Gurgaon’s Sector 14. Sanju, who runs a kiosk in Noida’s Film City, says, “Abhi jaise hi mausam thoda thanda hoga, jinhone abhi chodi hai cigarette phir aa jayenge. Kaam ka tension hoga to waapis peena shuru kar denge. Hum toh har saal dekhte hain ye sab. Kuch naya nahi hai.”

Youngsters better at sticking to the resolution
Cigarette sellers say that while most give up their resolutions easily, college students are more likely to stick to them. Mohan Singh, a cigarette seller in Noida’s Atta Market, tells us, “Baaki log toh hafte-do hafte mein phir se cigarette peena shuru kar dete hain. Sirf college ke bachche hi hain jo kuch had tak poora chhod dete hain. Kuch log kam kar dete hain. Ek packet ki jagah 4-5 lete hain din me.” Vaijant Singh, a paan shop owner near Jia Sarai, says, “It’s a students’ area, and most of them are not chain smokers. They don’t buy packets, only loose cigarettes. These resolutions are made mostly by those who smoke regularly, aur woh chhod bhi nahin paate.”

Source : TOI