KARACHI: The commissioner of Karachi on Sunday announced setting up of a tobacco control desk in his office for monitoring to make Karachi a smoke-free city.

The commissioner, Muhammad Iqbal Memon, said that district implementation and monitoring committees (DIMC) on tobacco control would also be formed for effective monitoring in all districts under the supervision of deputy commissioners.

He was speaking as a chief guest after inauguration of the Smoke-Free Karachi Cycling Rally from Empress Market to Mazar-i-Quaid held in collaboration with the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSRC).

‘Money spent on tobacco reduces households spending on food, health’

He said that steps would be taken to make public service vehicles and restaurants smoke free.

“According to the data, the economic cost of smoking in Pakistan is Rs615.07 billion, which is equal to $3.85 billion and equal to 1.6 per cent of Pakistan’s GDP,” he added.

“An estimate suggests that in 2019, the economic cost of smoking was about five times greater than the revenue from the tobacco industry. Money spent on tobacco reduces households’ spending on food, health, education, housing, and household durables,” he said.

He said in Pakistan, tobacco-consuming households spend an average 2.7 per cent of their monthly budget on tobacco.

The Karachi commissioner referred to a report of World Health Organisation that says the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than eight million people a year around the world.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2021

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