Joint efforts needed to end smoking in Pakistan: Zainab Naqvi


Assistant Commissioner Peshawar Sayeda Zainab Naqvi Wednesday said that May 31 is being celebrated worldwide as World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) and there is a need for joint efforts to control the ever-increasing trend of smoking in Pakistan.
For this, the district administration has taken actions in various shisha clubs, on which the shisha clubs have also been sealed, Sayeda Zaiban Naqvi said while talking to APP here. She said that parents should keep an eye on their children and protect them from drugs.
Chief Executive Officer of West General Hospital and Research Center Dr. Zia-ur-Rehman was also present on his occasion during the World No Tobacco Day celebration here like other parts of the world.
World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is observed around the world every year on May 31, she said, adding, “The yearly celebration informs the public on the dangers of using tobacco, the business practices of tobacco companies, what the World Health Organization (WHO) is doing to fight against the use of tobacco, and what people around the world can do to claim their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generations.”
It is worth mentioning here that the Member States of the WHO created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. The day is further intended to draw attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and to negative health effects, which currently lead to more than 8 million deaths each year worldwide, including 1.2 million as the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
The day has been met with both enthusiasm and resistance around the globe from governments, public health organizations, smokers, growers, and the tobacco industry and similarly such awareness should be given to the youth of Pakistan regarding the harmfulness of Tobacco use, she said.
WNTD is one of 11 official global public health campaigns marked by the WHO, along with World Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Immunization Week, World Tuberculosis Day, World Malaria Day, World Hepatitis Day, World Chagas Disease Day, World Patient Safety Day, World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, and World AIDS Day.
The observance of the day, she said, mean to raise awareness about the unhealthy and destructive effects of using tobacco. In addition, the event serves as an opportunity to help educate people about the dangers of using tobacco and how its usage can be regulated, she informed.
Tobacco consumption directly harms the users and also indirectly impacts the health of the people in close proximity to smokers, he said. In 1987, the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) passed a resolution calling for observing April 7 as ‘World No-Smoking Day. In 1988, another resolution was passed by the WHO to observe May 31 as ‘World No Tobacco Day” every year.
May 31 is observed as the World No Tobacco Day is aimed at raising awareness about the health risks associated with tobacco consumption. On this day, various global organizations including the United Nations advocate for effective government policies to reduce tobacco use around the world.
Tobacco not only affects the health of the individuals including the farmers who grow them, but it also leads to deforestation. According to the World Health Organization, across the globe, around 3.5 million hectares of land are converted for tobacco growing each year leading to deforestation of 200,000 hectares a year.
The World Health Organization in 1987 adopted the resolution for the creation of a global observance day dedicated to the control of tobacco use. The first World No Tobacco Day was observed on May 31, 1988. The theme of the inaugural year was, “Tobacco or Health: Choose Health.”
As per the WHO, this year’s theme for World No Tobacco Day 2023 is, “We need food, not tobacco.” It is aimed at raising awareness about alternative crop production and marketing opportunities for tobacco farmers and encouraging them to grow sustainable, nutritious crops.
World No Tobacco Day is an effort to control the consumption of Tobacco around the world. It aims to inform the public about the health implications that are associated with the use of tobacco including lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory illness, and many more.
The campaign urges governments to create and implement strong measures to prevent farmers from growing tobacco. It also advocates for putting high taxes on tobacco products to discourage their use.
The age-standardized prevalence of tobacco use in Pakistan was found to be 13.4%. Tobacco use in urban areas was 16.3% and rural areas was 11.7%. Tobacco use in urban and rural males was 26.1% and 24.1%, while in females it was 7.7% and 3.1%, respectively.
Over 22 million people (20% of adults) in Pakistan smoke tobacco. 32% of men and 6% of women smoke. However, smokeless forms of tobacco, such as paan, gutka and naswar, are also popular. More than 1 in four young people (aged 13-15) are exposed to second-hand smoke in their homes.
15% of male deaths and 1% of female deaths are related to tobacco use and exposure. Around 110,000 people die annually from tobacco-related diseases in Pakistan.
Tobacco kills over 163,600 people each year in Pakistan and almost 31,000 of these deaths are due to exposure to secondhand smoke. Tobacco causes about 16.0% of all male deaths and 4.9% of female deaths. Overall, 10.9% of all deaths are caused by tobacco. Tobacco causes 66.5% of all deaths from tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer, 53.2% of deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 21.9% of deaths from ischemic heart disease, 15.2% of deaths from diabetes mellitus, and 16.8% of deaths from stroke.