ISLAMABAD - Over 100,000 persons especially youth die every year in Pakistan due to cigarette smoking and other tobacco related diseases which is an eye opener for the relevant authorities as well as the society at large. The government needs to come up with an effective mechanism through blanket implementation of relevant laws to control discourage smoking at all levels so that people especially youth can be protected against the tobacco-related diseases.

Hundreds of visitors, mostly health professionals and doctors, expressed these concerns in an open letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during the two-day annual health conference held at Health Services Academy (HSA). TheNetwork for Consumer Protection (TN) also participated in the conference by organizing an awareness campaign and set up an awareness stall to sensitise people against devastating impact of tobacco use and to introduce the model law for comprehensive ban on tobacco advertisement promotion & sponsorship to the visitors. Some 200 letters were signed on the occasion. Endorsing the TN initiative, the visitors urged the PM to stop tobacco industry from spreading human diseases in the country. Through the letter, the participants drew the premiere’s attention towards the fact that against the Rs 15 billion annual revenue, the government have to spend much more to cope with the health burden caused by tobacco-related disease. “One month cost of the treatment of a cancer patient is Rs100,000 and there are hundreds and thousands of cancer patients in the country,” they said in the letter. They called for stringent action to undermine tobacco industry tactics. The visitors of TN stall had a consensus view that the only way to check tobacco industry’s tactics is to pass a comprehensive law on TAPS.

On the occasion, TheNetwork team briefed the visitors about the model law that the main objective for advocating comprehensive ban on TAPS was to protect present and future generations from the serious consequences of tobacco consumption.