Noted pulmonologist, anti-tobacco activists urge IBA to cancel workshop sponsored by tobacco giant

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Zubair Qureshi

A leading pulmonologist of Pakistan Prof Dr Javaid Akram and other anti-tobacco activists have urged the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) to cancel an online workshop that is being sponsored by a multinational tobacco company Philip Morris (Pakistan) Limited.
The Center for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ)– a collaboration between the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), the IBA, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University – is organizing the workshop, “Reporting on Science and Innovation” on January 13.
The social media is stormed with critical tweets and comments about the IBA for organizing the workshop with the sponsorship of the multinational tobacco company that many anti-tobacco activists said is unethical and against the international rules and regulations.
Through an email to the IBA executive-director, Prof Dr Javaid Akram who is a Dean Pulmonology College of Physician and Surgeon Pakistan said that he was “shocked to learn” that the IBA was organizing the workshop in collaboration with the tobacco company.
He said tobacco killed 8.2 million people in the world and in Pakistan alone nearly 200,000 people die annually from tobacco related diseases.
“By organizing a seminar in collaboration with a tobacco company, the IBA is trying to legitimize their dirty business at the cost of human lives,” he said, adding that all educational institutions had made a unanimous decision not to accept any donation or funding from a tobacco company.
Akram said that one of the UK leading university professors resigned a few years ago because his university accepted a donation from British American Tobacco Company.
He said the IBA should show the world that they care about human lives and they will not be a part of the tobacco industry marketing campaign while urging the institution to cancel the event.
This comes at a time when the Ministry of National Health Services has written a letter to the Ministry of Finance seeking a health levy on cigarettes and sugary drinks to discourage their use and curb the non-communicable diseases caused by these products.

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