Sunday October 01, 2023

Robust steps urged to curb smoking

By Our Correspondent
June 01, 2023

Islamabad:“Tobacco is responsible for 8 million deaths,” it says citing World Health Organisation (WHO) report for this year.

WHO has released a report titled ‘Grow food, not tobacco,’ that “also exposes the tobacco industry for trapping farmers in a vicious cycle of debt, propagating tobacco growing by exaggerating its economic benefits and lobbying through farming front groups.” World No Tobacco Day observed on Wednesday, sending a clear message to the government to take steps in the coming budget to discourage smoking, demanded network of academic researchers and professionals.

The network says that though tobacco is not a major crop in Pakistan, multinational cigarette manufactures do not change their tactics of coercion and manipulation. Prof Dr Zafar Iqbal, dean of faculty of social sciences at IIUI, in his message says, “Smoking becomes a kind of norm in a society and people take it as an accepted practice. Unfortunately, our academia does not attach negative traits of socio-cultural norms with smoking. Rather, some heroic or stylish concepts are attached with smoking.”

Prof Zafar says that a new narrative is needed to be built to discourage smoking as highlighting only its health hazards is not enough. He says there is a need to conduct research and analyze data on modern lines. “The data that different interest groups present to international audience lacks validity and is collected through questionable methods in most cases. Academicians and professional should be encouraged to do the task so that a clear picture comes up,” he concluded.

Dr Muhammad Zaman, the founding chairman of Department of Sociology at QAU, in his message pressed on the need to promote cigarette quitting in the society. “Smoking is more of a habit than addiction. A smoker thinks that he or she is missing something when they light a cigarette. It later becomes a habit. There is a need to break this habit,” he said.