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ISLAMABAD: The seminar was organized by PANAH on Saturday at a Serena hotel in Islamabad to highlight the role of journalists using modern platforms like YouTube, in the implementation of much delayed health levy bill.

Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) General Secretary and Director Operations Sana Ullah Ghumman said that Media is the fourth pillar of the state.

People value the media and problems highlighted on social media can bring change in the societies. The purpose of today's event is also to look at the factors that cause fatal diseases like NCDs, including the heart diseases, which is mostly caused by smoking.

Senior journalist Hamid Mir said that journalists are a mirror of society. Therefore, it is our duty to bring to the fore every issue that gives rise to law and order and social problems in the country. There is no doubt that smoking is harmful to health, it must be prevented so that our young generation and especially our children can be protected from its harmful effects. On the occasion, Malik Imran, Country Head, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, said that the struggle for implementation of Health Levy encompasses a long journey. Pakistan has already suffered well over 70 billion for not imposing Health levy in 2019, even when Prime Minister Imran Khan himself approved it.

He pointed out that currently in Pakistan, annual health cost burden due to tobacco-related diseases is Rs 615 Billion which is 1.6 percent of Pakistan's GDP.

Daily, 1200 children become active smokers. He stressed that health levy on cigarettes can discourage smoking, boost revenues, and contain non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes, and stroke.

Program Manager SPARC, Khalil Ahmed said that tobacco use is one of the main causes of deadly diseases, children are our future, 1200 children started smoking on daily basis in Pakistan which is a wake-up call for the government. Tobacco is the first step towards drug addiction. Health levy will be an effective way to protect your children from life-threatening tobacco.

Emphasizing the importance of social media, CEO Chromatic Shariq Khan said that nowadays social media is ubiquitous and its voice resonates in every corner of the country. The positive role of social media will prove to be an effective means of reducing tobacco use because everyone has easy access to social media.

The youtuber Journalists affirms that social media is the voice of the people and it can help eliminate smoking related diseases. They offered full support for the implementation of health levy bill.

The journalists believe that smoking is hollowing out the roots of our young generation. Many children who start smoking, mostly their life ends in drugs. It is the duty of social media to raise public awareness and convey pubic voices to the government.-PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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