ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri on Tuesday agreed that legislation was required to stop younger generation from smoking.
He was speaking at a seminar titled: “Tobacco Harms and Tobacco Industry Tactic” organised by Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) at a local hotel.
Mr Suri said that the younger generation started smoking as a fashion and there was a need to stop that unhealthy practice.
He said 170,000 deaths due to tobacco use was a cause of concern and “we should all be part of the PANAH awareness campaign so that diseases can be controlled”. He said: “We will consider the proposals of participants for the legislation.”
Medical Expert Prof Dr Shakeel Ahmad said that there were negative effects of tobacco on human health. He suggested taking collective steps to protect youth from hazards of tobacco.
Vice Chancellor Health Services Academy Dr Shehzad Ali Khan said the tobacco industry gave wrong statistics about illegal trade. “So that is why the tobacco tax could not be increased during the last three years,” he said.
Deputy Director Health Ministry Dr Samra Mazhar said that the government was seriously working on a policy to discourage tobacco use.
Chairperson National Commission on the Rights of the Child Afshan Tehseen Bajwa said that due to the propaganda of tobacco industry 1,200 school going children start smoking daily.
President of PANAH Major (retd) Masood-ur-Rehman Kayani said that the purpose of holding dialogue was to pave the way for legislation in the light of expert opinion. Such dialogues should be held in the future as well, so that the public can be made aware of the dangers of tobacco.
General Secretary and Director Operations PANAH Sanaullah Ghumman said tobacco killed millions of people every year and was a major cause of other deadly diseases including cancer.
“The tobacco industry, as always, justified the illicit trade. It is an attempt to stop the increase in tax. Increase in tobacco product prices will generate billions of rupees in the form of revenue, but will also reduce the burden of tobacco related diseases,” he said.
Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2021