THIS is with reference to the report “Plan to regularise ‘heated tobacco products’ under fire” (Dec 4). As a chest physician, I strongly oppose the proposal to approve this new tobacco product in the country.

Heated tobacco products (HTPs) consist of a small tobacco stick that is heated electronically rather than burned. The tobacco industry is actively trying to tell the people, especially the young, that the new product is a safer alternative to smoking.

As the industry is closing its cigarette manufacturing plants all over the world, it is introducing newer tobacco products so that their deadly business of making the youths nicotine addicts.

Apart from heated tobacco, the industry has also introduced electronic cigarettes as well as smokeless tobacco products in the form of nicotine pouches. A high percentage of Pakistani youth has started using newer tobacco products without realising their associated long-term health risks.

Scientific research shows that the heated tobacco products emit substantial levels of carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamines as well as toxic and irritant substances. Nicotine and tar levels have been found to be almost identical to the conventional cigarette.

The Ministry of Health should not approve the sale and consumption of heated tobacco products. Instead, a nation-wide campaign should be launched to make both the children and the grown-ups

fully aware of the potentially deadly impact of using these new tobacco products.

Prof Javaid Khan
President, Pakistan Chest Society (Sindh)
Karachi

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2022

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