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Showing posts with label National Alliance for Tobacco Control. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National Alliance for Tobacco Control. Show all posts

Saturday, May 4, 2019

National Quit Smoking Day on 1st Ramazan


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

The various health professionals’ organizations have voiced their concerns on the hazards of smoking cigarettes, which reportedly bring out the death of 166,000 people every year in Pakistan, on the eve of the National Quit Smoking Day to be observed on the upcoming first day of Ramazan. 

They have thrown light on the devastating tobacco epidemic rampant in the country and emphasized that the holy month of Ramadan provided a golden opportunity for people to quit smoking. 

“Cigarettes are killers that travel in packs. Tobacco consumption is the leading preventable cause of death, causing seven million deaths per year worldwide. Moreover, this death toll is expected to rise to 10 million per year by the year 2025 if the tobacco epidemic continues uncurbed. The horrifying impact of tobacco use in Pakistan is made apparent by the fact that smoking killed 166,000 Pakistanis in 2018 alone,” they warned. 

Prof Javaid Khan of the Aga Khan University (AKU) and Chair of the National Alliance for Tobacco Control, speaking at the Karachi Press Club, informed that every year, 1st Ramazan is commemorated all over the Muslim World as Quit Tobacco Day. 

“Ramazan presents a unique opportunity for Muslims to adopt a healthy lifestyle and quit tobacco use. Each puff of tobacco smoke is made up of thousands of chemicals, including at least 70 known to cause cancer. Tobacco kills half of those who use it, with its victims dying, on average, 15 to 20 years prematurely,” he stated. 

Prof Javaid Khan also urged religious scholars of the country to use this holy month to disseminate information to the public about the hazards associated with tobacco use. 

Dr Qaisar Sajjad, Head and Neck Surgeon and Secretary General, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), added that smokeless tobacco in the form of Gutka, Naswar and manipuri was responsible for 90% of head and neck cancers in the country. 

Advising the government to increase the taxation on tobacco products, he regretted the delay in introduction of Sin Tax on cigarettes as announced by the Health Minister last year.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Increased taxation on cigarettes demanded


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

At the emergency meeting, heath professionals belonging to National Alliance for Tobacco Control (NATC) Pakistan Chest Society (PCS), Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) and Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) raised serious concern on the recent news that Federal government is considering decrease in the taxation on cigarettes in the upcoming budget.

The health experts pressed the government to increase taxation on cigarettes in order to curb the growing tobacco epidemic in the country. It was also demanded that the ‘Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of non-smoker’s Health Ordinance of 2002’ be strictly enforced in order to protect the public health from tobacco which happens to be the single largest preventable cause of death in Pakistan. 

Pakistan is one of the countries where cigarette consumption is increasing with the passage of every year as according to a WHO report, every adult consumes 510 cigarettes on average every year which is alarming. 

Cigarette smoking kills 100,000 Pakistanis every year. This death toll is far greater than total deaths occurring as a result of suicidal bombings, traffic accidents and crime related killings in a given year. Significant increases in tobacco taxes are a highly effective tobacco control strategy and lead to significant improvements in public health.

The research conducted by International Agency for Research on Cancer last year has shown that 50% increase in inflation adjusted price reduces smoking prevalence by 20%. 

Prof Javaid Khan, Consultant Chest Physician from Aga Khan University and chairman NATC, said that the taxation on cigarette in Pakistan is lowest in the region. The low taxation rate encourages the public, especially youth. 

Quoting a research conducted by World Bank, he commented that increasing the tax by 10 percent can reduce the tobacco consumption by 8 percent in low income country like Pakistan. 

He also warned that tobacco in any form increases an already extensive risk of Heart disease in individuals suffering from hypertension and/or diabetes. Nicotine present in tobacco increases insulin resistance in the body and hampers good control of diabetes, he explained. 

Dr Khan also regretted the closure of Tobacco Control cell in Islamabad which was working under ministry of health. 

Prof. Nadeem A Rizvi. President, Chest Health and Education Society, and Head of the department of Chest Diseases JPMC, said that tobacco was responsible for almost 50% of all cancer cases in the country, yet smoking is still being advertised in the country at the point of sale and is portrayed through TV drama serials as a pleasurable, cool, glamorous and an adventurous act. He demanded a comprehensive ban on all forms of tobacco advertising and sponsorship in the country. 

Dr Nisar Rao of Dow university of Health Sciences said that passive smoking is a serious health risk to a non-smoker. He necessitated that all public places and public transport should be made truly smoke free in order to protect the health of non-smokers. 

Addressing the doctors of Pakistan, he said that they should not only set a good example by not smoking themselves, but also work to make their clinics, health centers and hospitals smoke free. 

Dr Sohail Akhter, an office-bearer of PIMA, requested the lawyers to come forward and help in the litigations against the tobacco industry for its violations of anti-tobacco laws of the country. The tobacco industry should be held responsible for deaths that are taking place every year in the country as a result of tobacco use.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Physicians appeal for tobacco control measures

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The renowned physicians working in major hospitals of Pakistan have sent a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, raising serious concerns on the growing tobacco epidemic in the country. 

“Cigarette smoking kills more than 100,000 people every year in the country. This death toll is far greater in number than total deaths taking place as a result of suicidal bombings, traffic accidents and crime related killings,” Prof Javaid Khan, Chair. National Alliance for Tobacco Control and Professor of Medicine at the Aga Khan University (AKU), Karachi, submitted in the petition. 

“We, the doctors, see the victims of tobacco every day in their clinical practice and are very concerned on the growing mortality and morbidity due to tobacco use in the country,” he remarked. 

Prof Javaid Khan warned that failure to control tobacco use in the country would be a health and economic disaster for the country. “Tobacco use increases the risk of heart attacks, hypertension, stroke, various lung diseases and twenty different types of cancers,” he explained. 

Elaborating on the impact of tobacco on Pakistan's economy he said that Pakistanis spent over Rs. 260 billion on over 64 billion cigarettes in the year 2015 alone. 

“Equal if not more amount was spent on consuming smokeless tobacco in the form of paan, naswar and gutka. Huge sum of Pakistan's foreign exchange is spent in importing medicines for treating diseases caused by tobacco. Tobacco control measures would help in improving the country's economy,” he reckoned. 

The petition was signed by well-known physicians belonging to leading hospitals of Pakistan including Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), Dow University of Health Sciences, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Liaquat National Hospital, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, Sheikh Zayed Hospital Lahore and Rahim Yar Khan, Gulab Devi Chest Hospital Lahore, King Edward Medical College, Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar and Fauji Foundation Hospital Rawalpindi.

The petition demanded that the ‘Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of non-smoker's Health Ordinance of 2002’ should be strictly enforced in order to control tobacco epidemic in the country. 

The doctors urged that all public places and public transport should be made completely smoke free in order to protect the health of non-smokers. 

The petition also advised the government to increase the taxation on cigarette in the forthcoming budget as at present cigarette prices in the country are lowest in the region.

They claimed that according to World Bank research increasing the tax by 10 percent, tobacco consumption in the country can be reduced by 11 percent. 

The doctors also raised their concern that despite of law which prohibited the sale of tobacco products to Under-18 age group no shopkeeper has ever been punished in Pakistan for selling cigarettes to minor. 

The letter said that the strong pictorial health warnings on tobacco products are a proven strategy to reduce its demand. The petition demanded of the government to increase the size of pictorial health warning on cigarette pack to 85% without any further delay. 

The doctors regretted that in spite of the fact that tobacco is responsible for almost 50% of all cancer cases in the country, yet smoking is still being advertised in the country at the point of sale. Also, it is portrayed through TV drama serials as a pleasurable, cool, glamorous and an adventurous act. 

The petition demanded a comprehensive ban on all forms of tobacco advertising and sponsorship in the country. The physicians also appealed that all universities and colleges must be made smoking-free zones in order to discourage youth from taking up this addiction, suggesting that there should be no tobacco vendors/shops allowed within walking distance of schools, colleges or universities.