Tobacco industry blamed for pushing children towards smoking

Published August 7, 2021
Deputy Director, Ministry of National Health Services, Dr Samra Mazhar speaks at the seminar on Friday. — INP
Deputy Director, Ministry of National Health Services, Dr Samra Mazhar speaks at the seminar on Friday. — INP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan National Heart Association (Panah) general secretary Sanaullah Ghumman on Friday said children were the country’s future and the tobacco industry was adopting various tactics to push them towards smoking.

He said the tobacco industry misled policymakers in the name of generating more revenue by involving influential stakeholders, actors, singers and athletes.

“We all must expose this propaganda,” he said while addressing a press conference organised by the association.

“According to the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (Pide), the availability of cheap cigarettes in Pakistan is a major cause of smoking among the youth, 60pc of smokers start smoking during adolescence.

“According to Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), the annual consumption of cigarettes in Pakistan was Rs86.6 billion. This is a worrying moment for us,” he said.

On the other hand, he said, the tobacco industry was misleading the government by claiming a loss of Rs77 billion on illicit trade.

“Given the fact that the illicit trade in tobacco in the country is not more than 10 to 15pc, if the illicit trade had exceeded the limit, a copyright case would have been registered by the tobacco industry,” he said, adding cigarette consumption increased by 90pc in 2017-18 after implementation of the third tier due to poor strategy.

“A recent report by the World Bank has made it to impose 30pc federal excise duty (FED) on tobacco every year to reduce tobacco consumption and increase revenue in Pakistan. The annual revenue of Rs134 billion will be achieved,” he said.

Ministry of National Health Services Deputy Director Dr Samra Mazhar said health of the nation was the basic duty of government.

“As we are aware, laws are being strengthened to prevent health hazards, children are our future, every propaganda will be exposed to save our children,” he said.

Health Services Academy Vice chancellor Prof Dr Shehzad Ali Khan said children of the nation are the priority of the government, effective measures should be taken to protect young boys and girls from tobacco as health cannot be compromised in any way. “Effective action is a matter of urgency,” he said.

Punjab Advisery Committee Chairperson Iram Mumtaz, former MPA Tehseen Fawad, Khalil Ahmed from Sparc, Sharq Khan from Chromatic along with others said that smoking is the first step towards drug addiction.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Updated 19 May, 2022

To be or not to be

The same decision taken weeks or months from now will have far more devastating consequences.
19 May, 2022

Impact on Punjab

THE Supreme Court judgement interpreting the issue of disqualification of parliamentarians under Article 63A of the...
19 May, 2022

Forest fires

THOUGH spot and forest fires have become a perennial phenomenon especially in peak summer, the recent blazes —...
18 May, 2022

SC on defections

THE judgement is monumental and will significantly influence Pakistani politics for years to come. After a nearly...
18 May, 2022

Karachi blast

THE frequency of urban terrorism incidents over the past few weeks in Karachi should send alarm bells ringing within...
18 May, 2022

Threats to Imran Khan

IT seems there is never a dull moment in Imran Khan’s life. First, it was a cabal of local and international...