Experts for joint efforts to control smoking among youth

ISLAMABAD    -   Expressing grave concern over the rising trend of smoking in Pakistan, stakeholders and anti-tobacco experts at a discussion have revealed that over 1200 youth opt smoking per day in the country which needs concerted efforts at all levels to control smoking as it heavily costing the human health.

The discussion was organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) to mark the World Tobacco Day.

Syed Ali Wasif Naqvi, Head of Policy, Advocacy and Outreach, SDPI in his presentation said as per the 2022 data, over 37 million adolescents aged 13-15 globally use tobacco.

Naqvi mentioned that with over 1200 children initiating tobacco use daily in Pakistan, and permeation of electronic tobacco and nicotine products in schools, colleges, and universities, the statistics from Pakistan are even more alarming.

The tobacco industry, he said, targets youth to replace millions of customers lost annually to death or cessation.

Dr Amina Khan, Executive Director, The Initiative, said, “Generally 1 out of 3 people die of tobacco who do not quit tobacco use or smoking, whereas 1200 children between the age of 6-15 start smoking every day in Pakistan. Two out of five adult smokers start smoking at the age of 10 which rings alarm bells for all to start focusing on the toddlers.”

“Youth engagement in policy-making is important to devise policy actions that are well guided and properly conceived in line with the ground realities to bear optimum results,” she added.  

Dr Minhaj-us-Siraj, CEO Health Syndicate, said the tobacco industry was engaging with children through labour in the tobacco fields, whereas those kids were not able to enter schools to acquire education for life.  He also mentioned “green leaf disease”. He added that without the civil society’s support no achievement in this cause was possible.

Dr Waseem Janjua, Research Fellow, SDPI, said, according to a study in the US, the tobacco industry was pumping in $7.62 billion in lieu of tobacco promoting advertisements that indicated the massive magnitude of capital investment to mislead masses on smoking.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt