Cancer Society urges discouragement of tobacco scenes in TV shows

"There has been 110% increase in scenes featuring tobacco in popular shows," says Cancer Society president

May 30, 2024
This representational image shows a man smoking. — AFP/File

MULTAN: Ahead of World Tobacco Day, Cancer Society President Dr Ahmed Ijaz Masood urged discouragement of scenes in popular shows portraying smoking in a glamorous manner.

Among youth aged 15 to 24 years, there has been a 110% increase in scenes featuring tobacco in popular shows, often portraying smoking in a glamorous manner.


The prevalence of smoking among young people continues and in some countries, it is increasing, said Dr Ahmed.

In a statement, he said that globally, an estimated 38 million boys and girls aged 13 to 15 use or consume tobacco products, "Nicotine is especially harmful to developing brains."

Tobacco products, including branded promotional materials, and particularly hookah and e-cigarettes, which are very popular among the younger generation, are more dangerous than cigarettes, he explained.

These tactics by the tobacco industry hook youth into a lifelong addiction. ”If you don’t quit smoking, your cancer will,” Dr Ahmed warned.

He said that smoking is a major curse in our society, involving cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookahs, beedis, betel leaves, areca nuts, gutka, and snuff. These are the worst substances that bring a person closer to death, he added.

There is a dire need to create awareness and educate people about their harmful effects, Dr Masood said, adding that Tobacco Day is celebrated to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the deaths and diseases it causes.

Smoking leads to over 8 million deaths annually worldwide, he noted.

He said that the aim of this day is to curb the widespread use of tobacco and assist in permanent cessation of smoking.

He said that it is time to take a stand and step towards a healthier future. The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2024 is: “Protecting Children from Tobacco Industry Interference,” he informed.

Smoking damages almost every organ in the human body and has negative impacts on overall health, the Cancer Society president said. "Tobacco kills nearly 50 per cent of its users."

“Smoking causes many life-threatening diseases, with cancer being the most prominent. Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, most of which are carcinogenic” Smoking is the leading cause of lung, mouth, and throat cancers.” Dr Masood said adding that in our region, 30 to 40 per cent of cancers are due to smoking.

He said that the use of tobacco in any form can lead to these lethal cancers, including lung, oral, oesophagal, stomach, colon, liver, pancreatic, breast, kidney, prostate, and bladder cancers. He said that smoking also causes heart attacks, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, and other psychological disorders.

Pakistan is among the 15 countries with the highest burden of tobacco-related deaths and diseases where around 32% of youth and 8% of women smoke. In Pakistan, tobacco use leads to 166,000 deaths annually, with 31,000 of these being due to secondhand smoke.