close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
 
February 13, 2021

Helping hands

Newspost

 
February 13, 2021

Over the last two days, I have received SMSes from the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination (MoNHSRC) that warn about the dangers of smoking and inform people that smoking in public places is a punishable offence. Through these messages, the authorities aim at encouraging people to stop smoking. Although it is a positive initiative, it can’t help create a smoke-free environment. In Pakistan, only less than three percent smokers successfully give up smoking in a year. It is mainly because smoking cessation programmes in the country are extremely limited in their scope and availability. There is one smoking cessation clinic at the National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicines in Islamabad. But smoking is not limited to the capital of the country. If the healthcare authorities are serious about controlling the use of tobacco, they should expand smoking cessation programmes and make them accessible. All such messages should also include the national quit line number so that those smokers who want to give up smoking should know where they can seek assistance. Pakistan also has a quit line for smokers. This number should be mentioned in SMSes that are being sent to everybody.

With the cooperation and coordination of the provincial governments, smoking cessation clinics can be established across Pakistan. Setting up such clinics should not be expensive. Although Pakistan has included Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs) in the essential medicines list, they are expensive and not easily available. There is an urgent need to reduce the prices of NRTs and ensure that they are easily available. Unless smokers are heard and helped in giving up smoking, the problem of tobacco use will not go away.

Hamza Azhar

Multan