Around 5,000 people in Pakistan are admitted in the hospitals everyday due to tobacco related diseases, and 274 die daily and above 100,000 die every year due to smoking or smoking-related causes.

Tobacco kills nearly six million people each year worldwide, of which more than 6, 00,000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke, said Consultant Pulmonologist Dr Sohail Naseem during a seminar with the theme of “work together to end the illegal trade of tobacco products”, Organised by Shifa International Hospital (SIH) to mark World No Tobacco Day.  

The seminar held on Saturday to highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use and educate public about the harms, hazards and effects of smoking on health also included a documentary and an art competition against tobacco use.

Consultant Pulmonologist SIH Dr Sohail Naseem informed that smoking causes an estimated 90 per cent of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80 per cent in women. “An estimated 90 per cent of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease are caused by smoking. Major part of household income is being spent on smoking rather on health and education. Pakistan is losing almost Rs 562 million daily in cigarette smoking. Eighty per cent of cigarettes are consumed in developing countries including Pakistan,” he said.

Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Abdul Wahab Yousafzai said that the illicit trade of tobacco products is detrimental to your health and your interests. Illicit tobacco products hook young people into tobacco experimentation and use because they are more affordable. Such illicit products also mislead young tobacco users by not displaying health warnings and sometimes involving children in illegal selling activities.

He said smoking would kill one billion persons by the end of this century. “Half of the Pakistani men are regular smokers and about 55 per cent families in Pakistan have at least one person who smokes. And, sheesha was equally dangerous.”

Consultant Cardiologist Dr Saeedullah Shah said it was alarming that above 70 per cent people with cardiovascular diseases are smokers. Smoking causes failure to taste food; it shrinks arteries and causes various cardiac diseases. He said that smoking is major cause of heart attack.

 “Heart attack death rate is 70 per cent greater in male smokers than non-smokers”, he added.

Dr Shah also said that various cancers including acute myeloid leukemia, lung cancer, mouth cancer, throat cancer, stomach cancer, bladder cancer, cancer of the cervix, cancer of the esophagus, kidney cancer, cancer of the larynx (voice box) and uterus cancer are caused by direct smoking, second hand smoking, chewing tobacco and using pan, gutka or sheesha. “Smokers face an increased risk of certain types of throat and stomach cancers, even years after they quit,” he remarked.

Later on, Dr Qazi, Farrah Adnan and Farooq Qaiser gave cash prizes, shields and participation certificates to the winners and participants of the art competition.

More than hundred students from different schools participated in the art competition. Leading art curator and Associate Professor at Department of Architecture & Design, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Farrah Mehmood Adnan and a TV Artist Dr Tariq Rahim Shah was the judges of the art competition.

Farooq Qaiser (Uncle Sargam) appreciated the efforts of young painters and said that all of them were quite clear in their ideas and represented them in a creative way. Dr Qazi specially emphasised on the need to spread message for preventive and healthy living among students and families so that we could form a healthy society.