ISLAMABAD -Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH), Human Development Foundation (HDF) and Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) launched an anti-tobacco awareness campaign.

Sana Ullah Ghuman, General Secretary, Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) said that Pakistan is one of the fifteen countries worldwide with the heavy burden of tobacco related ill health issues.

He said there are laws to control tobacco sales for minors to promote the healthy lifestyles. Reduce smoking result in better health and decrease the cost government on health e.g.

He further talked about that companies promoting e-cigarettes are less harmful as compared to traditional smoking is equally harmful and destructive for human body and society. 

Colonel (Retd) Azhar Saleem – CEO (HDF) said that cultural and social habits fascinating minors.

Tabacoo companies are targeting the markets of minors and women to expand their future markets by expanding business.

He added that the smoking habits of youngsters; growing habits of smoking in youngsters is the initial step to get attracted for drugs. He highlighted the crucial role of anti-smoking campaign reducing the health risks in schools and colleges.

Earlier, Health Minister Dr Zafar Mirza had also  requested all the provincial chief secretaries and Chief Commissioner, Islamabad to issue necessary directions to the relevant authorities to launch crackdown/legal action against the violators of tobacco advertisement guidelines issued under Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smoker’s Health Ordinance, 2002.

Dr Zafar Mirza stated that tobacco use is single largest preventable cause of death in the world. In Pakistan, tobacco is a cause of death of around 166,000 persons every year.

The youth of Pakistan are being targeted by the tobacco industry so that “replacement smokers” could be recruited. Around 1200 Pakistani children between age of 6 & 15 start smoking every day. 

In context, it is necessary to take immediate measures for tobacco control. Enforcing existing tobacco control laws could be helpful in curbing tobacco epidemic and saving lives of people of Pakistan, he said.