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Tobacco kills over 160,000 people every year: SPARC

KARACHI: Society For the Protection of the Rights of Child (SPARC) held a media orientation on the impact of tobacco smoking on children at a local hotel in Karachi on Thursday.

The participants, speaking on the occasion, noted that over 160,000 people die of tobacco-related diseases yearly.

“70 percent of people in Pakistan fall prey to second-hand smoke at indoor workplace which is equally damaging. Youth and women are the prime targets of the tobacco industry as findings from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey revealed that 13.3 percent boys and 6.6 percent girls (aged 13-15 years) currently use tobacco,” said Kashif Mirza.

Kashif Mirza, who was also moderating orientation, presented the facts of tobacco and law related to the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-smokers Health Ordinance, 2002, which includes measures to stop people from smoking on public, ban on access to tobacco products near educational institutes and restriction on sale of cigarettes to those who are under 18.

It has been reported that no complaint had been registered against the violators under this law,” added Mirza.

He further stated that soon SPARC will organize another session on how the tobacco industry is affecting financially.

Prof. Dr. Farah Iqbal, the Chairperson of Psychology  Department at the University of Karachi, said that cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals – over 50 of which are known to be toxic in nature.

Carbon monoxide also found in car exhaust fumes, butane found in lighter fluid, and arsenic, ammonia, and methanol found in rocket fuel, for example. As adolescent brains are still developing, nicotine exposure during youth and young adulthood can change the way the brain works, leading to a lifetime of addiction and may cause long-lasting effects such as increased impulsivity and mood disorders.

Karachi Press Club President Imtiaz Khan Faran on the occasion said that media is a tool of change and in recent past, it had played a strong role in bringing positive change in the society.

He highlighted the crucial role of the anti-smoking campaign reducing the health risks in schools and colleges.

“We have been working with civil society to increase the taxes on tobacco products to condemn the smoking habits in youngsters. There are laws to control tobacco sales for minors to promote the healthy lifestyles,” he added.

The KPC president assured his support to enforcement of the law.

Shomaila Waheed, a manager at SPARC concluded the session with a vote of thanks to participants.

Later, she distributed certificates among the participants of the workshop.



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