estimates over 160,000 people die of tobacco-related diseases yearly in Pakistan

Staff Reporter

KARACHI: Society For the protection of the Rights of Child (SPARC), Karachi conducted a media orientation session on the Impact of tobacco smoking on children at a local hotel of Karachi, to uplift awareness of working journalist & reports on tobacco which aims to work together to make Karachi a smoke free city.
Kashif Mirza, media officer SPARC was moderating the orientation. started the orientation by defining the role of media with respect to social issues, he says media is tool of change and in recent times media plays a very strong role in bring about a positive change in the society. He further spoke about the smoking habits of youngsters; growing habits of smoking in Youngers is the initial step to get attracted for drugs.
He says, 70 per cent people in Pakistan fall prey to second-hand smoke at indoor workplace which is equally damaging. He said that youth and women are the prime target of tobacco industry as findings from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey revealed that 13.3 per cent boys and 6.6% girls (aged 13-15 years) currently use tobacco aid that estimates show that over 160,000 people die of tobacco-related diseases per year in Pakistan. In addition, the second hand smoke takes a toll of around 40,000 annually. He further stated soon SPARC organize another session how tobacco industry is affecting financially “The loss of revenues due to introduction of the third tier (low tobacco taxes) is Rs77.85 billion rupees from 2016 to 2019. Loss of revenues due to price adjustments is Rs75 billion from 2018 to 2019,”
Prof. Dr. Farah Iqbal, Chairperson – Psychology Department, University of Karachi, There is more to cigarettes than just nicotine. They contain over 4,000 chemicals – over 50 of which are known to be toxic in nature: the 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 Smoking is associated with a host of other risky behaviors.
Zahid Thebo Regional Manager SPARC highlighted the crucial role of anti-smoking campaign reducing the health risks in schools and colleges. We have been working with government and 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. Reduce smoking result in better health and decrease the cost government on health.
Sadia Shakeel Project Manager SPARC, share the project details, fact about Karachi and said Big Tobacco Industry caused a whopping 153 Billion Rupees loss to the National exchequer between 2016-19, by being awarded low tax rate and adjusting the prices of their most sold brands. Almost 90% of all brands consumed in Pakistan were taxed as “low” tiers under the previous tax system (FY 2016-17). Big tobacco companies share 75% of the total market, which means they were able to sell 120 billion cigarettes in the same period. Loss of Revenue due to introduction of 3rd Tier (low tobacco taxes) is 77.85 billion rupees from 2016 to 2019.  Loss of Revenue due to Price Adjustments is 75 billion rupees from 2018 to 2019.
Shomaila Waheed Manager SPARC concluded the session with vote of thanks to attendees. The orientation session was attended by various working journalist, and reporters.

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