ISLAMABAD: As concerns continue to mount over the growing popularity and potential health risks associated with novel tobacco products, experts and health advocates gathered to highlight the urgent need for comprehensive regulatory action to ban these products and protect public health.

In a press release shared by Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc), health experts and activists have called for immediate action to ban these products.

Malik Imran Ahmed, country head Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, said novel tobacco products, including flavoured electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), heated tobacco devices and nicotine pouches, had gained traction in recent years, particularly among youth and vulnerable populations. He said despite claims of being safer alternatives to traditional tobacco products, mounting evidence suggested otherwise.

Former Technical Head of the Tobacco Control Cell at the Ministry of Health Dr Ziauddin Islam emphasised that a troubling surge in the consumption of novel tobacco products, especially among young individuals, was evident.

“These products contain addictive nicotine and harmful substances with the potential for enduring health consequences. I suggest adopting a proactive approach and giving precedence to public health through a ban on these products,” he said.

Sparc Programme Manager Khalil Ahmed Dogar urged policymakers and regulatory bodies to institute comprehensive bans on novel tobacco products.

Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2023

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