Easy access to the low cost cigarettes in Pakistan attracts the younger generation towards smoking. 60pc of smokers start smoking at teen age. Tobacco industry misled policymakers in the name of generating more revenue by involving influential stakeholders, actors, singers and athletes. We all must expose this propaganda. Pakistan National Heart Association (Panah) general secretary Sanaullah Ghumman said while addressing a press conference organized by the association.
Children are the country’s future and the tobacco industry was adopting various tactics to push them towards smoking. According to Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), the annual consumption of cigarettes in Pakistan was Rs86.6 billion. This is a worrying moment for us. He further said the tobacco industry was misleading the government by claiming a loss of Rs77 billion on illicit trade. A report by the World Bank has made it to impose 30pc federal excise duty (FED) on tobacco every year to reduce tobacco consumption and increase revenue in Pakistan. Further, the govt will earn the annual revenue of Rs134 billion.”
While talking to media at the press conference, Ministry of National Health Services Deputy Director Dr. Samra Mazhar said “health of the nation was the basic duty of government. Laws are there to prevent health hazards”. Health Services Academy Vice-chancellor Prof Dr Shehzad Ali Khan also said children are the government’s first priority. No compromise on the health of young boys and girls. To protect the youth from tobacco-related health hazards, effective measures are required.
Punjab Advisery Committee Chairperson Iram Mumtaz, former MPA Tehseen Fawad, Khalil Ahmed from Sparc, Sharq Khan from Chromatic along with others also said. “Smoking is the first step towards drug addiction”.