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ISLAMABAD: Like other parts of the globe, World No Tobacco Day will also be observed in Pakistan on May 31st (today) to create awareness among masses about the health hazard effects of smoking and medical complications related to the use of tobacco items.

In Pakistan, 19 percent of people, over the age of 15 years use tobacco in any form, and tobacco kills 118,000 people in the country every year besides having Rs 615 billion smoking-related illness cost per annum.

The country has placed a complete ban on advertisements of tobacco and tobacco-related products. The sale of loose cigarettes is prohibited as well as the display of banners and placards of cigarette brands at the point of sale while selling cigarettes near an educational institution is outlawed.

Pakistan made a commitment in 2005, when it signed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), to reduce tobacco consumption and ensure the right of people to the highest standards of health. Globally, the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than eight million people a year around the world.