LAHORE: Two-thirds of smokers want to end their relationship with cigarettes but could not due to the lack of proper counseling and medicines, say findings of a survey shared at an online dialogue on Thursday.

The dialogue organised by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child discussed the ‘Studying Tobacco Users of Pakistan survey’ conducted in 10 most populous cities of Pakistan.

The survey was approved by the Pakistan Health Research Council and executed in collaboration with the Tobacco Control Cell of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, says a press release.

Dr Ziauddin said more than 6,000 smokers participated in the survey. “The survey finds a smoker spends almost Rs 2,000 on cigarettes and smokes about 13 cigarettes a day.” He said the survey found 16 per cent of cigarette packs illegal, however, this estimate was much lower than the claims made by the tobacco industry.

Another participant, Sanaullah Ghumman, general secretary of the Pakistan National Heart Association, said multinational tobacco companies were involved in the illegal trade of cigarettes as they under reported their production and then put their non-reported products on the illicit market, causing a loss of billions of rupees to the state.

Sajjad Ahmed Cheema, SPARC executive director, said the government did a good job by introducing tobacco taxation reforms for tobacco control, and hoped the government would continue its tobacco taxation policy and enhance FED on cigarette as proven strategy to discourage smoking and increasing government revenue in upcoming budget 2020-21.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2020