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January 28, 2020

‘Smokers, harm reduction be included in tobacco parleys’

National

January 28, 2020

Islamabad: The Pakistan Alliance for Nicotine and Tobacco Harm Reduction (PANTHR) has called for inclusion of smokers and stakeholders (working on harm reduction) in consultations on tobacco control.

“We support ongoing efforts for tobacco control and strongly back a smoke-free Pakistan. However, we believe that the scope of consultations should be wider and inclusive,” said Kashif Farooqi, advocacy manager of PANTHR, an initiative aimed at promoting alternative solutions for smoking cessation, including harm reduction products (HRPs).

Farooqi said that in the tobacco control efforts in Pakistan, no members from the smokers’ community and those working on harm reduction are being engaged. He further said that smokers’ views have always been ignored in Pakistan.

“As the main beneficiaries, smokers’ voices should be heard loud and clear.” He added that smoking cessation remains a missing link in Pakistan’s tobacco control efforts. “Successful quitting rate in Pakistan is less than 3%. If we really want to make Pakistan tobacco-free, we have to concentrate on cessation.”

Farooqi said, tobacco control emphasis should shift from prevention to cessation. “Further, there is a need for separating harm reduction from the tobacco industry.”