The rate of smoking in Pakistan is increasing day by day. It is one of the leading causes of heart disease and cancer. Any new tobacco product should not be regularized. The speakers said this while addressing a walk at National Press Club Islamabad organized by Panah. The walk was led by Panah President Major General (retd) Masood ur Rehman Kayani, President, Union of Journalists Pakistan P Afzal Butt and Col. Shakeel Ahmed Mirza. The event was hosted by Panah Secretary General Sanaullah Ghumman.
A large number of students, civil society, lawyers, journalists and public participated in the walk. Children held banners and placards disapproving of new tobacco product legislation, protecting us from the dangers of tobacco. There were messages about the government not prioritizing the interests of the tobacco industry over our health.
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Major General (retd) Masood ur Rehman Kayani said that Panah has been working for the last 40 years to protect its countrymen from heart and related diseases, one of the major causes of which is smoking. We are trying to protect our young generation from the dangers of smoking, but the tobacco industry is always putting our children in danger by introducing new products. We reject new tobacco product legislation.
Afzal Butt said that Panah’s efforts to protect Pakistani children from tobacco are noteworthy. The entire journalistic community of Pakistan joins Panah in rejecting the new tobacco products legislation.
Sanaullah Ghumman said that a large number of people are suffering from smoking addiction in Pakistan and their number is more than 22 million. Our youths are also getting addicted to drugs. Around 1200 children start smoking every day. Panah is working with the government to educate people about the dangers of smoking and reduce its use, but the tobacco industry is trying to attract boys and girls. Innovation brings new products to the market. Some times in the form of vello and sometimes in the name of heating tobacco products. The government has enacted legislation to regularize new tobacco products. We reject any such new product legislation. We are out to protect the health of our children. Today, every section of concern, including children, is raising their voices in the voice of asylum and demanding the government not to approve this murderous law.
The students and civil society demanded the government in the walk that many countries have banned these tobacco products and many countries are going to ban them. We reject the government’s move to regularize these products and appeal. They want to ban them completely to save the new generation from their destruction.