Islamabad, Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH),organized press conference entitled “Revenue from Tobacco At The Cost Of Pakistani Youth” to highlight the increase in Net Profit of Tobacco Industry as reported in the fiscal year of 2020-2021, which signifies increase in consumption of tobacco as well. PANAH expressed its concern while stating tobacco consumption claims about 166,000 lives in Pakistan. It further added that according to WHO survey everyday about 1200 children between the age of 6 and 15 start smoking in Pakistan.
At the event were present PANAH General Secretary Sana Ullah Ghumman, Country Head of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Malik Imran, Correspondent of Society for Protection of the Rights of the Children (SPARC) Khalil Ahmad, Representative of Human Development Foundation Ms Iram and Syed Bilal, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Women Leaders and PP-16 General Secretary Nureen Masud Gelani, PP-16 Vice President Sami Nadeem, Farhat Batool, Representatives of World Health Organization, medical and legal experts, and media professionals.
Sana Ullah Ghumman, General Secretary, Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) said that tobacco is very harmful to health and its regular use is a major cause of heart, cancer and other deadly diseases. It is a matter of concern for 1200 children between the ages of 6 and 15 to start smoking daily .Pakistan is one of the 15 countries in the world that use tobacco extensively. Smoking causes a number of diseases including heart, mouth, lung, esophageal cancer, diabetes and stroke. Smoking kills ten times more than corona virus. The risks are high, the government should take it seriously and take strict practical steps to prevent smoking.
Malik Imran, Country Head of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), said that the future of our children is being ruined, smoking has become a social evil, the government is spending on tobacco related diseases, laws for tobacco have become ineffective, if Calling the annual net profit of the tobacco industry “blood money” would be pointless. The increase in the net profit of highly toxic products is extremely worrying. All this is due to the relaxation of state policies on taxes on tobacco products. The reason is that more than 50 chemicals in smoking cause cancer, every hour 12 Pakistanis die due to heart attack, which is mainly due to smoking, 438 lives are lost daily due to tobacco use. 8 million worldwide annually, while more than 160,000 people die every year in Pakistan due to smoking, the rate of smoking among young people in Pakistan continues to increase,Among youth who have ever smoked, nearly 40% first tried a cigarette before age (GYTS, 2013). To protect children from tobacco use, raising FED on cigarettes by at least 30% is essential to make it inaccessible for young people”. We must save the future of our country, our children and our young generation by adopting internationally recognized tobacco control policies such as tax increases.
SPARC correspondent Khalil Ahmad said that more than 60 per cent of the country’s population is being destroyed under the conspiracy of the young generation. If we keep our children away from smoking, the sick generation will be brought up.
HDF representatives Ms. Irum Azmat and Syed Bilal said that it is the responsibility of the government to provide health and related facilities to the people. There is no negligence in this. We have to rid the society of tobacco.