Speakers call for improved tobacco control efforts in KP

Peshawar   -  Speakers at a conference called for proactive measures to integrate the National Tobacco Control Strategy 2022-2030 into the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tobacco Control Roadmap 2021 for sustainable tobacco control.

In a united effort to safeguard the health and well-being of the citizens of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a non-governmental organization (NGO), Blue Veins, and the Provincial Alliance for Sustainable Tobacco Control organized a conference, calling for improved tobacco control efforts in the province based on the principles of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

The event highlighted that almost 23.9 million people in Pakistan smoke tobacco, with 32% of men and 6% of women being smokers. Smokeless forms of tobacco, such as paan, ghutka, and naswar, are also popular. More than one in four young people (aged 13-15) are exposed to second-hand smoke in their homes, while 15% of male deaths and 1% of female deaths are related to tobacco use and exposure. Similarly, around 164,000 people die annually from tobacco-related diseases in Pakistan.

The National Tobacco Control Strategy 2022-2030, launched by the Government of Pakistan, represents a groundbreaking initiative offering a comprehensive and evidence- based roadmap with continuous monitoring and evaluation measures to ensure the effectiveness of interventions.

The strategy also emphasizes adaptation to the evolving landscape of tobacco control.

Addressing the conference, Sana Ahmad, Program Coordinator at Blue Veins, said, “By integrating the National Tobacco Control Strategy into the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Roadmap on Tobacco Control, the province can create a seamless framework that can ensure the effectiveness and success of tobacco control initiatives in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”

Tarannum Arshad, a member of the Provincial Alliance for Sustainable Tobacco Control, said, “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department must make efforts to ensure that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa receive the highest level of protection against the dangers of tobacco use.” She added, “Integrating the National Tobacco Control Strategy into the regional roadmap is a strategic move and a moral obligation to safeguard public health.”

Mian Ateeq from the Provincial Alliance on Sustainable Tobacco Control Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said, “The success of tobacco control efforts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa hinges on strong collaboration and integration with national strategies.

This synergy will enable us to create a united front against the tobacco industry’s tactics and ensure a healthier future for our communities through sustainable tobacco control measures.”

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