ISLAMABAD - As many as 5000 people in the country are admitted to hospitals everyday due to tobacco related diseases, 274 die daily and above 100,000 die every year due to smoking. The worldwide deaths caused by the use of tobacco are above 5 million every year.
The seminar to educate public on the harms, hazards and effects of smoking on health was held in a different style. A court was formed to conduct trial of tobacco and convict it. Three professional lawyers from Rawalpindi Bar Council including Khawaja Noman-ul-Haq, Amer Abbas Malik and Zahid Raza came to play the roles of judge, prosecution counsel and defense counsel, respectively.
The judge charged the tobacco (role was played by a student of Shifa College of Medicine (SCM) Saim Bin Saeed in a dress with proper cigarette and tobacco’s products labels), but tobacco rejected the charges and asked to face the trial.
Then the prosecution counsel presented his witnesses who were eminent health experts including Consultant Cardiologist SIH Dr. Saeedullah Shah, Consultant Oncologist SIH Dr. Kamran Rasheed and Dr. Mati-ur-Rehman. Defense counsel presented Mishal Shah, a medical student of SCM as her witness in favor of smoking.
After hearing witnesses and arguments from both the sides, the judge convicted tobacco and banned its use in all forms including pan, gutka and sheesha.
The event was attended by a large number people including a group of students from Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi. Dr. Mati said that half of the Pakistani men are regular smokers and about 55 percent families in Pakistan have at least one person who smokes. He said that sheesha was equally injurious to health. He said that major part of household income is being spent on smoking instead of health and education. Thus smoking is badly impacting our economy as well. He was of the view that smoking causes an estimated 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80 per cent of all lung cancer deaths in women. An estimated 90 percent of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease are caused by smoking.
Dr. Saeedullah Shah said when a cigarrete company anywhere in the world earns $5000, one smoker dies. “I would say they kill a smoker every time they earn $5000,” he stated. He said it was alarming that above 70 percent people with cardiovascular diseases are smokers. Smoking causes failure to taste food; it shrinks arteries and causes various cardiac diseases. He said smoking is major cause of heart attack. “Heart attack death rate is 70 percent greater in male smokers than non-smokers”, he added.
Dr. Kamran Rasheed said various cancers including acute myeloid leukemia, bladder cancer, cancer of the cervix, cancer of the esophagus, kidney cancer, cancer of the larynx (voice box), lung cancer, cancer of the oral cavity (mouth), cancer of the pharynx (throat), stomach cancer and cancer of the uterus are caused by direct smoking, secondhand smoking, chewing tobacco and using pan, gutka or sheesha. “Smokers face an increased risk of certain types of throat and stomach cancers, even years after they quit,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, Shaukat Khanum Cancer Memorial Hospital and Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) Islamabad Campus have jointly launched a campaign aimed at curtailing the consumption of tobacco through awareness raising in order to save masses, especially the young generation from its hazardous affects.
In this connection, experts from Shaukat Khanum Cancer Memorial Hospital and management as well as students of SZABIST will hold a chain of activities including seminars, walks and fairs to disseminate the anti-tobacco messages through all possible means. Students will distribute pamphlets at different places such hotels, parks, educational institutions, and shopping malls so that more and more people made aware of the horrifying result of tobacco consumption.
The campaign was launched to mark the “World No Tobacco Day” here at SZABIST where medical experts from Shaukat Khanum urged the media not to advertise or glorify use of tobacco products from its platform so that the increasing trend of its consumption could be discouraged.
Speaking of the occasion of the campaign’s launching Muhammad Zohair Sahoo, a medical expert from Shaukat Khanum, said that 80 percent of the total smokers worldwide belong to the less income generating countries including Pakistan.
He also said that there are 250 types of dangerous chemicals in the smoke of tobacco, which cause serious health disorders not only to the smokers but also to other around them.
He expressed serious concern over the escalating use of tobacco in Pakistan in the form of cigarette, Gutka, Pan, Niswar, Seepare, Chaaleya and Sheesha.