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Smoking hazards highlighted

January 14, 2005

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KARACHI, Jan 13: Concerted efforts are required to save youth from tobacco consumption, and to create awareness about the menace and its impact in the country.

This was stated by Prof Naim Jaffery, a senior medical professionals and the pioneer of 'No Tobacco Smoking and Chewing Campaign' in Pakistan, while speaking at the concluding ceremony of the two-day workshop on 'Smoking Cessation' organized by the Pakistan Chest Society on Wednesday evening.

The activity was organized under the PCS' Sindh chapter, to help implement the international conventions, including the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), to which Pakistan is a signatory.

He recommended vigorous involvement of family physicians in anti-smoking activities. While taking exception to the much trumpeted 'social responsibility' undertaken by tobacco and cigarette industry, Mr Jaffery called for effective measures to present things in their true perspective.

According to him, the youth, especially the schoolchildren, should be made aware of smoking hazards, who besides being enticed to take up smoking, are also lured into consuming supari (betel nuts) as well as a combination of tobacco and betel nuts, commonly known as gutka.

He reminded that enforcement of the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smoker Ordinance-2002 and Massive Public Awareness were inter-related, while medical community, particularly the family physicians held significant influence among the masses.

The FCTC also provides a framework for tobacco-control measures for implementation at national, regional and international levels. Dr Mira Birj Aghi, an expert from India, who conducted the workshop, sought change in the behaviour of doctors as well as the masses, through provision of information, education, motivation and relevant skills.

Dr Shaheena Qayyum, a senior members of the PCS and a key speaker at the event, in her brief comments at the concluding session underscored the need for political will in the country to combat the menace of smoking.

Dr Javed A Khan called upon the participants of the workshop to take an oath that smoking or tobacco chewing would not be allowed at their respective clinics, and that they would enquire the patients regarding their indulgence in smoking, Pan and Chhaliya chewing or use of other hazardous products.

Prof Nadeem Rizvi, President, PCS (Sindh), offered vote of thanks mentioning that the workshops organized for master trainers would be replicated at regular intervals. -APP

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