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KARACHI: Sana Ullah Ghumman, General Secretary and Director Operations, Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH), said that the tobacco industry misleads policymakers in the name of generating more revenue than others, influential stakeholders, showbiz actors, singers and athletes are attracted to children by promoting smoking and we all have to expose this misleading propaganda of the tobacco industry.

He said this during a press conference organized by PANAH. On the occasion, Deputy Director Ministry of National Health Services Dr Samra Mazhar, Vice-Chancellor Health Services Academy Islamabad Prof Dr Shehzad Ali Khan participated as special guests. Punjab Advisory Committee Chairperson Iram Mumtaz, NDOK Chairperson and former MPA Tehseen Fawad, SPARC’s Khalil Ahmed, Chromatic’s Sharq Khan and others participated as guests.

Addressing the participants of the press conference, Sana Ullah Ghumman said that our children are our future and the tobacco industry is adopting various tactics to push them towards diseases. According to the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), the availability of cheap cigarettes in Pakistan is a major cause of smoking among the youth as sixty percent of smokers start smoking during adolescence. On the other hand, the tobacco industry is misleading the government by claiming a loss of Rs 77 billion on illicit trade.

Guest of Honor Deputy Director Ministry of National Health Services Dr Samra Mazhar said that health of the nation is the basic duty of the government. As we are aware, laws are being strengthened to prevent health hazards, children are our future and every propaganda will be exposed to save our children.

Vice-Chancellor Health Services Academy Islamabad Prof Dr Shehzad Ali Khan said that children of the nation are the priority of the government, effective measures should be taken to protect young boys and girls from tobacco, health cannot be compromised in any way, prevention of health hazards. Effective action is a matter of urgency. Positive PANAH efforts will not go in vain. We are with PANAH seekers, he added.

Punjab Advisory Committee Chairperson Iram Mumtaz, NDOC Chairperson and former MPA Tehseen Fawad, SPARC’s Khalil Ahmed, Chromatic’s Sharq Khan and others said that smoking is the first step towards drug addiction. The tobacco industry is targeting our children, especially girls. Increasing revenue will help solve many health problems. We urged the government to implement the Health Levy Bill immediately.—PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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