Health activists have urged government to impose a ban on innovative products such as nicotine pouches, e-cigarettes and heated tobacco devices in order to save Pakistan’s economy.
In a press release shared by Society for Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), the health activists have called for the need to recognize the health and economic harms of these products.
Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Head, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) that the economic cost of smoking in Pakistan is PKR 615.07 billion which is equal to 1.6% of Pakistan’s GDP but the revenue generated from the tobacco industry is only 20% of the total cost.
He mentioned that innovative products contain nicotine which is a proven addictive substance. Nicotine also leads to more dangerous forms of substance abuse and can cause serious health and mental health issues among youth.
These products are claimed as cessation products but in fact, are new forms of addiction. The research claiming that they’re less harmful than cigarettes are all funded by tobacco industry. The independent research has warned about their harms.
Imran added that Pakistan is facing perhaps the worst financial crisis since its existence. Legalizing novel tobacco products won’t bring any substantial revenue. In fact it will cause more damage to our already depleted healthcare infrastructure.
Government must recognize this immediately before it is too late.
Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Program Manager, SPARC, mentioned that due to cheap and easy affordability nearly 1200 children begin smoking every day in Pakistan. The tobacco industry has already mislead the government by claiming that e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches are less harmful and only for smokers who want to quit.
However these products are openly promoted online and sold to young and new consumers. We can’t afford any more children getting addicted to these new products. Khalil requested government recognize this situation as a child rights emergency as it will directly hurt their health, education and future development.
It is responsibility of policymakers to ensure that no anti-child policy is implemented in the country. Banning novel tobacco products is in our national interest and government shouldn’t be afraid to take this much needed step.
Ban on all new nicotine addictive products demanded