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Wednesday October 05, 2022

Harmful effects of nicotine products discussed

By Our Correspondent
September 06, 2022

Islamabad:Media in Pakistan need to create awareness about the damages of nicotine products do to human lives, agreed participants of a discussion, organised by Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC).

Malik Imran, country head of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, was like a magnate in this discussion. He said now nicotine is available in pouches that are sold along with sweets for kids, which has to stop.

“Our future is in our hands. People are dying in other countries due to use to this new product. It has been banned there. But in Pakistan, it is produced or imported because law does not exist to address this problem.”

In an informal chat, he said, “Where there is will, there is law. We sit in parliamentary panels to discuss prevalence of nicotine products in society and are astonished to know agents of makers of these products countering us there. They are everywhere,” he said.

He said the good thing is that media in Pakistan is vigilant against this crime which is why nicotine products have been taxed this year more than ever. These new products are launched under the slogan that they will wean smokers off cigarettes. “My question is, if they aim to wean smokers off cigarettes, why they are sold to non-smokers?” Imran said.

Dr. Ziauddin Islam, a former employee of the Health Ministry, said the number of smokers in Pakistan has reached up to 29 million. Yearly, 170,000 people die due to tobacco consumption. Pakistan is a party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Dr Zia mentioned that in Pakistan there’s no federal or provincial legislation regarding these new nicotine products. Dr Hassan Shehzad, a media researcher, pointed out that sometimes inflated figures were popped up in society in the name to creating awareness about nicotine harms. These figures are discredited by research. Dr. Shehzad said that there is need to collect fresh data and explore new dimensions of this subject. He deplored the fact that journalists have a tendency to report from the podium, pressing on the need for reporters to interact with all participants of discussions to get a broader picture. Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Programme Manager, SPARC, said 61 million of youngsters are an asset for the country and the country should save it from addiction to nicotine.

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