Govt urged to prioritize tobacco control

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Zubair Qureshi

Human Development Foundation (HDF) has joined the World Health Organization (WHO)on the eve of the World No Tobacco Day (May 30) and urged the government to prioritize tobacco control and reduce cardiovascular diseases that are the leading cause of death worldwide.
Manager Sustainable Environment, Human Development Foundation (HDF) Zahid Shafiq in a statement issued here on Wednesday said if swift action was not taken, tobacco use would claim almost 1 billion lives in the 21st century.
He called for adoption of policies by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)—world’s first public health treaty—which obligates its 180 parties to implement these proven policies to reduce tobacco use.
According to Zahid Shafiq, tobacco use is the major cause of cardiovascular diseases and the second greatest contributing factor behind high blood pressure. Tobacco use harms some of the world’s most vulnerable populations disproportionately. More than 80 percent of the world’s smokers live in low and middle-income countries, where tobacco use harms are further exacerbated by a lack of access to health care.
Reducing tobacco use would dramatically reduce death toll from cardiovascular diseases. Proven measures to reduce tobacco use have significantly reduced health costs associated with tobacco around the world. These measures include increasing tobacco taxes, placing large pictorial warning labels on tobacco products, restricting tobacco advertising and bans on smoking in indoor public places, said Zahid Shafiq.
HDF understands the need to address the issue of tobacco control in Pakistan and hence is facilitating the Government to reduce tobacco consumption among kids. HDF aims to bring data, stories, and policy analysis from other countries as evidence for the Tobacco Control Cell and Ministry of Finance so that the prices and taxation on the tobacco production and distribution can be set up as per the standards of WHO FCTC.

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