PESHAWAR – Representatives of a civil society organization have urged the government to make necessary legislation on smokeless tobacco products to control its growing usage, and suggested imposition of special taxes on all smokeless products.

Speaking at a news conference here at the Press Club on Thursday, Ziafat Zaman representative of Sustainable Development Vision (SDV), an NGO, said that the usage of smokeless tobacco products was increasing in the country due to the lack of relevant laws to control it. He added that they put forward certain proposals and recommendations before the relevant authorities and lawmakers, to take certain steps to control the use of smokeless items.

Zaman said that in a survey conducted in four selected districts including Mardan, Haripur, Swabi and Abbottabad, of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, revealed serious health implications due to usage of smokeless tobacco products.

Flanked by Programme Coordinator Asifa Hameed, and Assistant Manager, Ambarin Khan, Zaman said that according to the survey, the ratio of smokeless tobacco users stands at 17.1 per cent under the age of 10 to 15, whereas about 38.5 per cent people were observed under age of 15 to 25, who use such smokeless items on daily basis. According to the findings, the ratio of smokeless tobacco users was nearly 5.2 per cent under age of 25 to 45, he maintained.

Zaman said that situation was quite alarming, as approximately 3.6 million people use smokeless tobacco items out of the total 10.3 million population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said that the lack of proper legislation for such smokeless items was the main reason behind the growing number of users in the province.

The civil society organization urged the government to take serious steps to control the use of smokeless tobacco items, and should impose special tax on such products in order to reduce the use of health hazardous products in society.