Islamabad says no to smoking


The World No-Tobacco Day was observed on Friday with several functions organized all over Islamabad and Rawalpindi including a seminar titled “Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS)” organised by Shifa International Hospital (SIH) and The Network for Consumer Protection (TNCP).

“Around 5000 Pakistanis are admitted every day for tobacco related diseases, with 274 dying daily and above 100,000 every year. Further, tobacco kills more than 600,000 due to second-hand smoke annually,” said SIH Consultant Pulmonologist Dr. Mati-ur-Rehman at the seminar which highlighted the health risks of smoking, advocated effective policies to reduce it and to educate the public on its harmful effects. A skit against tobacco use was also performed by the students of the ShifaNursingCollege.

The Rawalpindi Arid Agriculture University Vice Chancellor Professor Rai Niaz Ahmad was the chief guest and students from the Rawalpindi Arid Agriculture University, SIH Chief Executive Officer Dr. Manzoor H. Qazi, SIH Chief Operating Officer Sohail A Siddiqi, Strategic Planning Director Mahmood Mirza, TNCP Executive Coordinator Nadeem Iqbal, consultants, doctors, policy makers, civil society representatives and medical students also attended.

Nadeem Iqbal said that Pakistan was losing almost Rs 562 million daily to cigarette smoking, thus smoking was badly impacting the economy as well. According to him, this year’s WHO theme highlighted how TAPS misled the public by depicting tobacco as being no different from any other legal consumer product. TAPS increased its social acceptability and strengthened the tobacco industry’s influence over the entertainment business through the tens of billions of dollars spent annually on marketing activities.

Further, Dr. Saeedullah Shah informed that when a cigarette company anywhere in the world earned $5000, one smoker died. He said that it was alarming that above 70 percent of people with cardiovascular diseases were smokers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) commemorates the World No-Tobacco Day on May 31 every year to highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use and to advocate effective policies to reduce its consumption.

According to a WHO report, tobacco kills nearly six million people every year, of which, more than 600000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke and 50 per cent of these deaths occur in developing countries.

A local dental surgeon Asif Raza said that smoking caused a range of diseases including cataracts, acute myeloid leukemia and cervical, kidney, pancreatic and stomach cancers. In fact, smoking affected virtually every organ of the body.


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