ISLAMABAD          -           Government understanding the hazards of use of tobacco is committed to do every effort to curb the menace of tobacco use from country, Parliamentary Secretary on health said on Thursday.

Parliamentary Secretary Health Dr. Nausheen Hamid said this on launch of a campaign against “smokeless tobacco use in Pakistan” here.

She added that the government fully understands the hazards of use of tobacco and its products including smokeless tobacco and we are committed to do every effort to curb the menace of tobacco use in Pakistan. 

Dr. Hamid further said that under the existing tobacco control laws of Pakistan, the use of all forms of tobacco is already banned in public places and public transport. There is a great need to change the perception and behaviour of general public about the use of smokeless tobacco.

She believed that the launch of this informative video on smokeless tobacco is a great effort by ASTRA.

It is expected that the video would be disseminated with the support of all partners and the government to all concerned and it would create a strong message to quit all forms of tobacco including smokeless tobacco.

Dr. Ziauddin Islam, Technical Head Tobacco Control Cell, Ministry of NHSRC presented details about the prevalence of smokeless tobacco. He said globally there are 300 million users of smokeless tobacco and out of these 89% based in low and middle income countries including South East Asian countries.

He informed that in Pakistan 9.6 million adults at or above the age of 15 years are using smokeless tobacco.

He further said that use of smokeless tobacco is leading to different types of cancers, which include oral cancer, pharyngeal cancer and other cardiac effects.

He hoped that with the support of this video on smokeless tobacco use, we would be successful in dissemination of hazards of smokeless tobacco use in the country and deterrence and quitting of smokeless tobacco in the country.

Malik Imran Ahmed country head campaign for tobacco free kids said that smokeless tobacco (SLT) remained out of government attention ever since.

The consumption of SLT is a primary reason of preventable death worldwide. According to statistics of World Health Organization (WHO), almost 90% of SLT users reside within South and South East Asia and use of SLT in this region had acquired the form of an epidemic.

ASTRA initiative will provide this government an opportunity to realise the gravity of the situation regarding health cost due to SLT, and will emphasise the urgency for taking measures to reduce its consumption in the country.