ISLAMABAD: Pakistan National Heart Association (Panah) has appealed to the electronic media regulator to stop media coverage of former federal minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed as he smokes cigars during press conferences and this can influence the young generation.
Moreover, it has demanded from Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to issue a general instruction not to provide coverage to any person who promotes smoking.
The letter signed by Panah General Secretary Sanaullah Ghumman stated that the association has been working to minimise cardiovascular diseases since 1984.
“This association had also put in its good share in helping people who suffered in the natural disasters that struck the nation in the past and is also helping poor patients get expensive cardiac investigations, angioplasty, stents and cardiac surgery at various hospitals. The president of Islamic Republic of Pakistan by virtue of his position is our patron-in-chief. Panah works closely with policy makers to advocate for policies to reduce non communicable diseases (NCDs) and many other fatal diseases,” it stated, adding that Panah has been running an aggressive campaign against tobacco use in the country as a part of the Heart Disease Prevention programme because tobacco is one of the leading causes of heart and many other fatal diseases.
The letter stated that Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, renowned politician of Pakistan always waves his cigar and its pack during his media talks while saying: “I have been the federal minister of Pakistan several times”.
“We know that youngsters always follow their elders and especially renowned personalities. Due to his action of waving the cigar, our young generation may think that Sheikh Rashid Ahmed became the federal minister just because of the use of cigar and also suppose that it is the symbol of personality and they should also start smoking.
“In Pakistan, already 1,200 new children start smoking every day,” it stated.
While talking to Dawn, Mr Ghumman said showing a smoker on media was a violation of tobacco control laws of Pakistan and legal action could be taken against media houses for showing smokers.
“We also request the media that they should show responsibility and not give coverage to people while smoking as it gives a wrong impression to the young generation,” he said.
Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2023
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