Wednesday October 04, 2023

MPs promise to help check rising tobacco use

By Our Correspondent
October 31, 2022

Islamabad : Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum chairman Muhammad Abdul Qadir expressed concern about the rising incidence of tobacco use among the youth and announced that parliamentarians would make all possible efforts to protect the young generation from smoking.

The announcement came during an event here amid a warning by the World Health Organisation that tobacco kills over eight million people annually with seven million deaths caused by direct tobacco use.

Among other guests of the function organised by the Pakistan National Heart Association at a local hotel were MNA Samina Matloob, Senator Abdul Shafiq, senior leader of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali, and representatives of the finance and national health services ministries and Federal Bureau of Revenue.

MNA Dr Samina Matloob said that society should act together to prevent people from tobacco use to reduce the incidence of diseases.

Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafique Tareen said parliament would support all efforts meant to save the future of Pakistan.

Former MNA Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali said the government and the ruling PML-N stood with the PANAH for the cause of public health and would do whatever was possible for the purpose.

Secretary general of the heart association Sanaullah Ghumman said the tobacco industry was influencing scores of Pakistani youth to take up smoking daily.

"We have to take effective measures to protect the youth from this poison [tobaacco]," he said. Sanaullah Ghumman said the PANAH had been running a campaign for the last 40 years to make people aware of the harms of smoking and advocate laws against tobacco to reduce smoking rates in the country.

He said the number of young smokers was fast increasing. Ghumman insisted that the tobacco industry misled policymakers through wrong information. “There is a ban on tobacco advertising in Pakistan but the tobacco industry is promoting its products by joining public welfare projects and campaigns.”

He said the industry's tactics made 1,200 children begin smoking daily.

"Tobacco use is not only ruining the country's future but is also costing the government billions of rupees in the shape of care for those suffering from tobacco-caused diseases. We request everyone to understand the seriousness of this problem and help us eliminate it," he said.