Tobacco causes 170,000 deaths every year, Rs615 billion loss to economy

Zubair Qureshi

Health experts have cautioned against grave health and economic losses of tobacco including 170,000 deaths per year and Rs 615 billion losses to economy annually.

They said this while addressing the National Dialogue on “Tobacco Harms and Tobacco Industry Tactic,” organized at a local hotel. In their speeches they exposed the propaganda of “tobacco harms and tobacco industry tactic.”

The purpose of the dialogue was to expose the misleading campaign of the tobacco industry in the light of investigations by medical and economic experts, analysis of senior journalists and the action taken by government agencies so far, to protect the young generation from the negative effects of tobacco.

Deputy Speaker Pakistan National Assembly Qasim Suri was to be Chief Guest of the National Dialogue but he could not make it.

Deputy Speaker National Assembly Qasim Suri in a statement sent on the occasion said that the medical and economic experts present in today’s National Dialogue provided us with important information.

This tells us how smoking harms our children. The younger generation starts smoking as a fashion, it is unhealthy for the young, he said adding legislation was needed for this.

The huge number of deaths (170,000) due to tobacco is a cause for concern every year. We need to think about this. We should all be part of the PANAH awareness campaign so that diseases can be controlled.We will try to legislate on PANAH proposals.

Medical expert Prof Dr Col (R) Shakeel Ahmad Mirza said that tobacco use has negative effects on human health, which makes us sick, it is possible to prevent them only if the public is informed about it and legislation is made at government level.

Former President of Pakistan Union of Journalists Afzal Butt, Secretary National Press Club Anwar Raza, Senior Journalist Tazeen Akhtarne while representing the journalists community said people should not be a part of any campaign without knowing the real facts but should give priority to the opinion of experts.

Vice Chancellor Health Services Academy Dr. Shehzad Ali Khan said that the tobacco industry gives wrong statistics about illegal trade.So that is why the tobacco tax could not be increased even once in the last three years.

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