LAHORE - Like other parts of the globe, the World No Tobacco Day will be observed across the country including Lahore today to raise awareness about hazards smoking.

WNTD is observed on May 31 annually to highlight health and other additional risk factors associated with tobacco use. The theme for WNTD this year is “Tobacco - a threat to development”.

The theme aims at highlighting how tobacco threatens development of nations worldwide, and is calling on governments to implement strong tobacco control measures. These include banning marketing and advertising of tobacco, promoting plain packaging of tobacco products, raising excise taxes, and making indoor public places and workplaces smoke-free.

Tobacco-related illness is one of the biggest public health threats the world faces, killing more than seven million people every year. It is one of the largest preventable causes of non-communicable diseases.

Seminars, rallies and walks will be arranged by public sector and private institutions in major cities including Lahore to highlight the hazards of tobacco use and benefits of quitting smoking.

Lahore General Hospital arranged a seminar one day prior to the event to highlight the importance of quitting tobacco use.

Addressing the participants, Principal Post Graduate Medical Institute Prof Ghiyasun Nabi Tayyab said that smoking was the major cause of increase in non-communicable diseases. If smoking not controlled, annual death rate would be eight million in 2030, he added.

Prof Tayyab urged doctors, media and representatives of social society to aware public of damages of smoking. He said that smoking causes heart problems, hypertension, blood pressure and many other serious ailments in human beings.

Doctors, nurses and people from various walks life attended the seminar. Experts demanded implementation of ban on smoking at public places including public transport. They expressed alarm over increase in tobacco use in Pakistan.

They were of the view that there were people who did not get food but could not quit smoking. “More than one billion people around the world have fallen in habit of smoking including 25 million Pakistanis among whom 16 % are women”, they added.