ISLAMABAD, Sept 4: Worldwide 600,000 people die every year due to exposure to second hand tobacco smoke and 6 million smokers die every year. The situation becomes terrible since 80 per cent of world’s one billion smokers live in low and middle income countries.
Pakistan has to implement Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) 2004 to protect the present and future generations from the danger of tobacco use and related diseases.
It was stated by speakers during a discussion session organised by The Network on Tuesday.
Office bearers of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and All Pakistan Minorities Alliance Rizwan Sadiq, Babar Minhas, Shakeel Roshan, Sohail Romi, Shamaun Gill, Anees Abbasi, Rubina Akbar and others participated in the discussion.
Fatwas against cigarette use and tobacco from prominent Islamic scholars were also shared with political representatives.
Fatwas from Jamia Al-Azhar Egypt, Islamic Fiqh Encyclopedia Kuwait and Permanent Committee of Academic Research and Fatwa Saudi Arabia have declared tobacco use Haraam (forbidden).
Political representatives endorsed their support for comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and effective tobacco control through a resolution which will be sent to prime minister of Pakistan and chief ministers of all the provinces to direct relevant authorities and government functionaries to take appropriate actions to enforce tobacco control laws in letter and spirit.
Nadeem Iqbal, Executive Coordinator of The Network resolved the session with suggestions for alternatives of tobacco crop.
Government should impose higher taxes on tobacco products and use the revenue for welfare of tobacco farmers and educate them to move towards alternatives of tobacco crop to reduce the health and socio-economic risks associated with tobacco farming.
While talking to Dawn Nadeem Iqbal said that now time has come to take a decision to put a complete ban on smoking because although government earns Rs60 billion tax through tobacco industry but it has to spend much more on health sector because of diseases caused by smoking.