ISLAMABAD: Pakistan National Heart Association (Panah) has welcomed the decision of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, who has directed authorities concerned to take action against violators of the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers’ Health Ordinance 2002, particularly those who violated tobacco advertising guidelines.
In a statement, Dr Sultan has suggested all provincial chief secretaries and chief commissioner Islamabad to issue necessary instructions to the relevant authorities so that legal action could be taken against those found guilty of violating guidelines.
The association’s general secretary, Sanaullah Ghumman, said according to the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, two out of five children started smoking before the age of 10 so it was a matter of concern.
“If the growing trend of tobacco use in children and young generation is controlled in time, along with diseases, the cost will also increase. These children are the future of Pakistan and steps must be taken to protect their health,” Mr Ghumman said, adding that the figures released by the Ministry of National Health Services Tobacco Control Cell were alarming. According to data, 23.9 million people in Pakistan use tobacco while 15.6 million people are smokers.
“Despite this, multinational and local tobacco companies have decided to increase their tobacco crop requirements for the current year 2021,” he said, adding that some of the government’s initiatives were also raising a ray of hope.
“The Tobacco Control Cell has produced a documentary on tobacco use and health risks, based on tobacco-related diseases. The film is currently available in Urdu on Daily Motion and YouTube,” Mr Ghumman said, adding that our government has requested to ensure the implementation of health levy to keep tobacco out of the reach of the people.
Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2021