National Conference on Emerging Tobacco Trends Parliamentarians concerned over growing trend of smoking among youth


Zubair Qureshi

Parliamentarians while attending a one-day “National Conference on Emerging Tobacco Trends and Control” expressed their concerns at the fact that tobacco is killing around 160,000 people every year in Pakistan.
Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) had organized the seminar. If we go by the number of 160,000 deaths due to tobacco-related diseases, this means 438 people die every day due to tobacco use, said they.
The seminar participants agreed on various measures to tackle this problem: implementation of plain packaging and large graphic health warnings on all tobacco packets; enactment and enforcement of ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; elimination exposure to second hand smoke in all indoor workplaces, public places and public transport; effective mass media campaigns that educate the public about the harms of smoking tobacco use and secondhand smoke.
Federal Parliamentary Secretary, Education & Professional Training Wajiha Akram, while speaking on the occasion said we needed to condemn smoking habits in youngsters.
Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwami, Member National Assembly said smoking habits among youngsters were growing as younger generation gets easily attracted towards drugs.
He highlighted the role of anti-smoking campaign reducing the health risks in schools and colleges.
Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Head Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids said Pakistan is one of the 15 countries worldwide with the heavy burden of tobacco related ill health issues.
Around 1,000 to 1,200 Pakistani children between ages of 6-15 years start smoking every day according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) results of 2015. Pakistan’s population consists of 60% youth below the age of 25 where alarming statistics of young people getting addicted and at risk of tobacco consumption calls for strict checks for selling cigarettes to the minors particularly. The worrisome aspect is the healthcare burden, which is 143 billion compared to revenue generation, which only stands at 83 billion currently, leading to loss to federal exchequer.

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