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Tobacco control desk to be set up at commissioner’s office

By Our Correspondent
November 29, 2021

Karachi Commissioner Iqbal Memon has announced that a tobacco control desk will be established at his office to monitor the efforts for making the city smoke-free.

Memon said the administration of Karachi Division will take all possible steps to make the city smoke-free. District implementation & monitoring committees on tobacco control will be formed for effective monitoring of all the districts under the supervision of the respective deputy commissioners.

The commissioner made these announcements on Sunday while speaking as the chief guest after the inauguration of the Smoke Free Karachi cycling rally held from the Empress Market to the Mazar-e-Quaid in collaboration with the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination.

He said steps will be taken to make public service vehicles and restaurants smoke-free. He also said that according to available data, the economic cost of smoking in Pakistan is Rs615.07 billion, equal to 1.6 per cent of the country’s GDP.

According to another report, he said, the economic cost of smoking in 2019 was about five times greater than the revenue from the tobacco industry. “Money spent on tobacco reduces households’ spending on food, health, education, housing and household durables. In Pakistan, tobacco-consuming households spend on an average 2.7 per cent of their monthly budget on tobacco. Poor households spend three per cent of their budget on tobacco. This is more than they spend on education, that is 1.8 per cent.”

According to a report, he shared, tobacco kills over 163,600 people each year in Pakistan, while almost 31,000 of these deaths are due to exposure to passive smoke. He also referred to a WHO report that says the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, as it has killed more than eight million people in a year around the world. More than seven million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use, while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to passive smoking, he pointed out.