LAHORE: Smoking is a global health threat as aid Dr Shoaib Aalam, consultant pulmonologist at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre said in a press release.

Highlighting the hazards related to smoking and tobacco use, he said lung cancer is one of the leading cancers in males and females and 90% of lung cancer in males and almost 80% in females is associated with smoking. In addition to lungs, tobacco also causes cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, bladder and kidneys. Dr Shoaib reiterated that almost 20% of heart related diseases are linked with smoking and it is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease.

He also mentioned a report of WHO which says that the prices of cigarettes in Pakistan are much lesser than other countries and it is very important for the government to raise the taxes on tobacco products which not only will discourage the users to buy them but also can produce much more revenue for the country. Remember, this is a preventable or an avoidable health risk.

Dr Shoaib said that although continuing awareness on this topic is producing promising results in west, still it is estimated that a quarter of world population is using tobacco in some form while globally the death toll due to diseases caused by smoking is on the rise with an estimated five million deaths every year, seventy percent of these are related to under developed countries.

He further said that health care professionals with support from government and media can make a difference by educating the smokers to quit and motivating the nonsmokers, especially youngsters, to remain nonsmokers. Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital organises a number of awareness sessions in various schools and colleges in its “Anti-Tobacco Awareness Campaign” to educate and aware students nationwide, he said. He suggested that we should make aware all the segments of our society, specially the school and college students about this social evil and should stand as a unite nation against this preventable or an avoidable health risk. Tobacco or life, the decision is yours, he concluded. –Staff Reporter