ISLAMABAD: Health activists on Wednesday urged the government to impose an immediate ban on Velo, an oral nicotine pouch.

Speaking to a media session, held at a local hotel, the health activists said Velo was a major health hazard, claiming that companies were targeting teenagers as potential users. They also appreciated the decision of the government to request Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stop promotion of Velo on their websites.

The event titled ‘Demand for Ban on Use of Tobacco and Nicotine Products’ was organised by Pakistan National Heart Association (Panah) at a local hotel. Panah General Secretary Sanaullah Ghumman said it was absolutely wrong to label nicotine products without smoke as less harmful.

“The use of nicotine clogs blood vessels and blood flow. It increases the risk of many serious diseases, including Leukoplakia. High doses and long-term use of nicotine can cause more dangerous symptoms including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, which is why it is recommended to keep the Velo pouch in the mouth for only 30 minutes. And it is strictly forbidden to swallow it, which proves that the ingredients in Velo are harmful,” Mr Ghumman said.

Country head of Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids Malik Imran said despite the use of tobacco, which killed eight million people each year, a new generation was attracted to Velo, e-cigarettes, nicotine pouches and social media was used extensively to promote tobacco.

“For this purpose, samples of Velo nicotine pouches are provided free-of-cost at grocery, pan shops and other shops in Pakistan. Young boys are also used to promote Velo and they distribute samples on commission,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2022

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