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Alliance launched to promote tobacco control

By Bureau report
August 11, 2022

PESHAWAR: Blue Veins, a local non-governmental organisation, under the initiative of ‘promoting sustainable tobacco control and smoke-free environment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’, has launched an “Alliance for Sustainable Tobacco Control”.

The alliance comprises diverse members from civil society organizations, trade bodies, medical professionals, online social groups, tobacco control advocates, media representatives, etc.

Speaking at a function, Qamar Naseem, Programme Manager, Blue Veins, said at a function: “Tobacco control should be a top priority in health issues as well as for the reduction of poverty. The Government of Pakistan is a signatory to the World Health Organization and Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.’’

He said: “Tobacco use kills eight million people every year and is the leading cause of preventable deaths globally. Evidence shows that significantly increasing tobacco excise taxes and prices is the single most effective and cost-effective measure for reducing tobacco use. It is also a measure specifically called for in Article 6 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control”.

Dr Ateeq, a member of the alliance and representative of the District Coordination Council said that raising taxes on tobacco products which leads to an increase in their price makes tobacco less affordable. He said when tobacco becomes less affordable, people use it less and youth initiation is prevented.

“Because youth and low-income groups are more responsive to increases in tobacco prices, they disproportionately enjoy the health and economic benefits of quitting and not starting,” he added.

Dr Safatullah, a research associate, at the Khyber Medical University Peshawar, said: “Saving lives with tobacco taxes lessen the enormous healthcare burden and economic losses that result from tobacco-related diseases.