KARACHI: “More than 90 per cent oral cancer cases we have seen in Pakistan are linked to tobacco use,” said Prof S. M. Tariq Rafi, a senior ENT specialist while addressing an awareness session on oral health on Saturday.

The event was organised at the Jinnah Sindh Medical University for the traffic police officials.

“The harmful effects of tobacco use can take 20 to 25 years to manifest as deadly diseases,” said Prof Rafi, also the vice chancellor of JSMU, stressing the need for prevention.

Dr Marium Azfar, in charge of the university’s community dentistry programme, shared her clinical experiences and informed the audience that chewing harmful substances initially caused minor gum diseases that later led to cancer.

She emphasised the need for individual responsibility in spreading awareness of harmful effects of chewing substances, such as tobacco, betel nut and leaf, gutka, and niswar, etc.

SSP Traffic South Dr Asad Ejaz Malhi was of the opinion that lack of awareness of the deadly effects of chewing paan, gutka, betel nut and other substances had put a large portion of population at high risk.

He thanked the university for its role in creating awareness and urged the officials to adopt healthy habits.

The session jointly organised by JSMU student council and the department of community dentistry included oral check-ups of the traffic police staff.

Dean Sindh Institute of Oral Health Sciences (SIOHS) Professor Kefi Iqbal, Principal SIOHS Zubair Abbasi also spoke at the occasion.

Student Council representatives Moiz Ahmed, Asad Hussain Malik, Kiran Abbas, Abdul Moeed and Shaji Naveed assisted the faculty in oral check-ups.

It was part of the JSMU’s Sindh Institute of Oral Health Sciences outreach programme which aims to spread awareness of oral health.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2019