PESHAWAR: “Give priority to health over business, save our children from tobacco!” This is the call of the partners of Coalition for Tobacco Control – Pakistan (CTC-Pak) on the World No Tobacco Day. While the world is going for stricter tobacco control policies, the people of Pakistan are still waiting for the government to fulfill its two years old commitment to implement 85% enhanced Pictorial Health Warning (PHW) on cigarette packs announced back in January 2015.
The PHW cautious the smokers and others around him about the health hazards from tobacco use. But unfortunately the decision for larger warning on cigarette packs in public health interest is not implemented so far. We demand the government to implement the PHW decision immediately to protect our youth and children from tobacco.” Said the Dr.RiazYousafzai Chief Executive BIRDS “More than 555,000 children continue to use tobacco each day. Youth is considered as future of nation. If there is no youth that means the future is at stake.” He said.
Zar Ali Khan Afridi President Society for Rights and development-FATA said that according to WHO report, tobacco use disproportionately harms some of the world’s most vulnerable populations. More than 80 percent of the world’s smokers live in low- and middle-income countries, where the harms of tobacco use are further exacerbated by a lack of access to health care. Tobacco use also creates economic burden, costing countries a staggering $1 trillion dollars a year in health care costs and lost productivity.In Pakistan,
Around the world, proven measures to reduce tobacco use have greatly reduced thehealth and economic costs associated with tobacco. These measures include increased tobacco taxes, large pictorial warning labels on tobacco products, restrictions on tobacco advertising and bans on smoking in indoor public places. These measures are called for by the world’s first public health treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which obligates its 180 partiesto implement these proven policies to reduce tobacco use.
Taimur Kamal Executive Director Peace, Justice and Youth Organization said that “Pakistan ratified the FCTC and became a party in 2004. The existing PHW were implemented in 2010 which were supposed to be rotatory every year. After fiveyears in 2015, the government took a huge step to protect the youth of Pakistan by enhancing the warning size from 40% to 85%. Tobacco industry always target new smoker which is youth and productive force of the nation. There is grave need to inform our coming generation how the industry is playing with their lives.” Taimur Kamal
Qamar Naseem of Blue Veins said “We are also concern on the new budget proposal regarding taxes on tobacco as we understand the new proposals will make the cigarette more cheaply available to the youth particularly. This year the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on countries around the world to prioritize tobacco control and combat the tobacco epidemic in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.