Govt urged to slap more taxes on tobacco

  • Doctor says as many as 5,000 people admitted to hospitals daily owing to tobacco-related diseases


Highlighting the alarming number of deaths related with tobacco every year, health experts demanded the government to raise taxes on tobacco and its products in the upcoming budget 2014-15.

They were addressing a public awareness seminar organized by Shifa International Hospital (SIH) in connection with “World No Tobacco Day”.

They said every year, on May 31 World No Tobacco Day is marked, underlining the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

Executive Director Health Services Academy Dr Asad Hafeez said that government will implement comprehensive ban on tobacco advertisement by May 31.

He said there was a dire need to impose more taxes on tobacco as around one thousand children from age eight to 10 start using tobacco every day.

SIH Consultant Pulmonologist Dr Sohail Naseem said as many as 5,000 people in the country were admitted in the hospitals everyday owing to tobacco-related diseases.

He said tobacco kills nearly six million people each year, of which more than 600,000 are non-smokers dying from second-hand smoke or passive smoking.

Dr Sohail said smoking will kill one billion people by the end of this century. He said half of the Pakistani men are regular smokers and about 55 percent families in Pakistan have at least one person who smokes.

SIH Head of Cardiology Department Dr Asad Ali Saleem said negative effects of smoking and tobacco were beyond lungs and pulmonary diseases. He said smoking is one of the major causes of hypertension, heart attack and stroke.

He observed that above 70 percent people with cardiovascular diseases are smokers. He said smoking causes failure to taste food, shrinks arteries and causes various cardiac diseases.

Heart attack death rate is 70 percent greater in male smokers than non-smokers, he added.

Consultant Radiation Oncologist Dr. Asif Masood said that various cancers including acute myeloid leukaemia, lung cancer, mouth cancer, throat cancer, stomach cancer, bladder cancer, cancer of the cervix, cancer of esophagus, kidney, larynx (voice box) and uterus are caused by direct smoking, second-hand smoking, chewing tobacco and using pan, gutka or sheesha.

A large number of people including consultants, doctors, civil society representatives, medical students and citizens of twin cities attended the seminar.