ISLAMABAD, May 27: The Network for Consumer Protection has launched the first ever data resource to facilitate researchers, lawyers and tobacco control advocates to access information related to tobacco consumption.

The resource was launched in a press conference held on Monday at the National Press Club by Nadeem Iqbal, the executive coordinator of the network.

“The database is not only a resource for researchers but an effort to compile the history of tobacco control in Pakistan,” Mr Nadeem Iqbal said.

“It is a huge intellectual resource since the beginning of tobacco control here, and will be a milestone for those who want to counter the expensive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry,” he added.

He said the tobacco industry shared limited information about their marketing and social activities, but The Network was uploading the true and unbiased information regarding the tobacco industry at the data resource website.

The media was informed that the database would provide information regarding the basic facts such as hazards of tobacco, policy and legislation, tobacco control groups, publications and reports, and would inform about the case laws from around the world.

“These case laws will help tobacco control groups to further explore forums and register complaints against the tobacco industry for violating tobacco control laws,” Mr Iqbal said.

The database features national as well as international data from the top 15 countries where tobacco consumption is the highest.

It has been developed with the help of data from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK–USA) and World Health Organisation (WHO).

Dr Sobia Faisal, coordinator of The Network, said tobacco use was the most preventable cause of illness and death which killed more than 100,000 people in Pakistan per annum.

“Tobacco use is a risk factor for major non-communicable diseases such as heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes and asthma in Pakistan,” she said, adding that tobacco use in Pakistan was more than a health problem.

“It’s a development problem too. Tobacco aggravates poverty by killing people in their most productive years and consuming family and health-care budget,” she said.

The database can be reached at http://www.tobaccocontrol.org.pk.

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