ISLAMABAD: Special Representative to Prime Minister on Religious Harmony Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Ashrafi on Wednesday said smoking was forbidden (haram) in Islam and was destroying the young generation.

Quoting the Quran, he said anything and everything that becomes an addiction was forbidden in Islam.

“Extremism, smoking and some aspects of social media are destroying our young generation,” Hafiz Ashrafi said, while addressing a seminar after screening of a documentary about tobacco control on Wednesday.

The documentary titled Tobacco: The Real Enemy released by Chromatic Trust, highlighted the effects of smoking on the health of individuals and its economic cost on the whole system in various shapes.

Ulema and Mashaikhs should highlight the ill effects of smoking in Friday sermons. “We are all concerned about the young generation, and Prime Minister Imran Khan is seriously worried about them,” he added.

Guest of Honor Senator Dr Zarqa Suharwardi Taimur was of the view that tobacco and smoking is the gateway to most drugs. “Everything starts from here and by putting an end to it we can control our future,” she said and also spoke about how her efforts turned Government College University Lahore into a drug free zone.

“If it could be done at one institution, its applicable everywhere else,” the senator added.

Partners of Chromatic Trust, Panah, Sparc and Indus Hospital also participated in the documentary screening event. The documentary is set to formally release on national TV channels, digital media and other social media platforms.

Chromatic Project Director Shariq Mahmood Khan said around 438,000 children under 15 years of age were being deliberately targeted by tobacco companies in order to maximise their profits. This profit is actually blood money, he said.

Mr Khan said that the documentary not only identifies the problem but experts interviewed also give multiple solutions to it and the immediate and most effective tool, as per experts, is maximise tax on tobacco products.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2021

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