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.
“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.