Islamabad - More than 80 percent of the world’s smokers live in low and middle-income countries, where diseases caused by tobacco use are further exacerbated by a lack of access to health care, said the statement.

Human Development Foundation (HDF) has joined the World Health Organization (WHO) on this World No Tobacco Day and has asked the Pakistani government to prioritize tobacco control to reduce cardiovascular diseases that are the leading cause of death worldwide.

Without urgent action, tobacco use will claim one billion lives in this century. Such policies are called for 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.

Tobacco use contributes dramatically to cardiovascular diseases as the second greatest contributing factor behind high blood pressure.

Tobacco use harms some of the world’s most vulnerable populations disproportionately.

Reducing tobacco use would dramatically reduce the 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. 

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.

The surging consumption of tobacco among the youth of Pakistan is creating immense economic and health concerns for the country.

It is depriving Pakistan of the healthy workforce while also increasing the pressure on the already overburdened health sector. According to a recent report by WHO, Pakistan has seen growing instances of trachea, lung and bronchus cancer, along with the aforementioned cardiovascular diseases.

The root cause behind this outbreak has been associated with tobacco related smoking.

Cigarettes are readily available for purchase and consumption in Pakistan. The Government has controlled advertising, sponsorship and promotion of the cigarette.

According to a 2017 SRO, it plans to include graphical warning on the cigarette packs by June 2018.

The recent ban on the sale of loose cigarettes also aims to curtail easy availability of tobacco products. Although, the Government has taken necessary measures under the FCTC framework to control the demand for tobacco in Pakistan by monitoring the advertising and promotion, yet adjustment of pricing and taxation structure remain vital for substantial reduction in tobacco consumption.

On this World No Tobacco Day calls HDF-Pakistan calls to put the health of our citizens first.