Roaming around in a market area, there are two ubiquitous signboards that you are likely to encounter the most: 'Happy Hour' and 'No Smoking'. In a way, they also reflect the marked change in the way drinking and smoking are perceived these days.
Drinking is no longer considered a taboo. Social drinking has garnered much more acceptability now and it is not uncommon to see families going to a restaurant which serves liquor. Even household parties have a free flow of imported wines and a wide array of cocktails.
What's more, there's now reliable data too to support that drinking has come of age in the country. ASSOCHAM estimates that alcohol consumption in India will cross 19,000 million litres by 2015 from the level of 6,700 million litres in 2011.
But, the aura surrounding a male with a long cigarette dangling from his lips has gone up in smoke. It is no longer considered a style statement and, in fact, is frowned upon in gatherings. Extensive use of mass media to convey the harmful effects of smoking has played a significant role in it. Domestic consumption of cigarettes in 2011-12 increased only by 4.19 per cent to 1,16,166 million sticks over the previous year 2010-11. In 2011 this was even worse as it fell by 0.33 per cent as compared to the previous year. Also, no new industrial licence has been granted for manufacture of cigarettes since 1999.