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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) on Tuesday disclosed that the fiscal year 2020-21 has simultaneously witnessed increase in the net profits of tobacco industry as well as tobacco consumption in Pakistan.

PANAH has organized a press conference entitled “revenue from tobacco at the cost of Pakistani youth” here at the Islamabad Press Club on Tuesday. Expressing its concern, the PANAH stated that the tobacco consumption claims about 166,000 lives in Pakistan. It further added that according to the World Health Organization (WHO) survey everyday about 1200 children between the age of 6 and 15 start smoking in Pakistan.

The press conference was also attended by the PANAH General Secretary Sana Ullah Ghumman, Country Head of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Malik Imran, Correspondent of Society for Protection of the Rights of the Children (SPARC) Khalil Ahmad, Representative of Human Development Foundation Ms Iram and Syed Bilal, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Women Leaders and PP-16 General Secretary Nureen Masud gelani, PP-16 Vice President Sami Nadeem, Farhat Batool, Representatives of World Health Organization, medical and legal experts, and media professionals.

Sana Ullah Ghumman, General Secretary, Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) said that tobacco is very harmful to health and its regular use is a major cause of heart, cancer and other deadly diseases. It is a matter of concern for 1200 children between the ages of 6 and 15 to start smoking daily .Pakistan is one of the 15 countries in the world that use tobacco extensively. Smoking causes a number of diseases including heart, mouth, lung, esophageal cancer, diabetes and stroke.

“Smoking kills ten times more than coronavirus. The risks are high and the government should take it seriously and take strict practical steps to prevent smoking,” he added.

Malik Imran, Country Head of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), said that the future of our children is being ruined, smoking has become a social evil, the government is spending on tobacco related diseases, laws for tobacco have become ineffective, if calling the annual net profit of the tobacco industry “blood money” would be pointless. The increase in the net profit of highly toxic products is extremely worrying. All this is due to the relaxation of state policies on taxes on tobacco products. The reason is that more than 50 chemicals in smoking cause cancer, every hour 12 Pakistanis die due to heart attack, which is mainly due to smoking, 438 lives are lost daily due to tobacco use. To protect children from tobacco use, raising FED on cigarettes by at least 30% is essential to make it inaccessible for young people. We must save the future of our country, our children and our young generation by adopting internationally recognized tobacco control policies such as tax increases.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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