Promoting Health in Pakistan - World No Tobacco Day 2013
By Khadim H. Dahot, Managing Director, SDTS
Theme: Ban Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship (TAPS)
Relevance to Pakistan
In Pakistan, the government, civil society, and community activists have joined in a coalition, to create awareness regarding use of smoking and its causes.
Sewa Development Trust Sindh (SDTS) in collaboration with Coalition for Tobacco Control (CTC) Pakistan observed World No Tobacco Day in district Khairpur and Jhudo-Mirpurkhas on 31 May, 2013.
Smoking is a leading cause of cancer, lung diseases, and heart-related diseases. In the world, 1 in 10 people people die due to tobacco use, according to WHO.
The statistics on the smoking habits of Pakistan’s population, including youth and children, are stark:
- In Pakistan, 19 % of youth (above 18 years) use tobacco (32% male and 6% female).
- In Islamabad, children (13-15 years) 1.4% use cigarettes and 10% use other tobacco products (11% boys and 7% girls).
- In 2008, people used cigarettes at a rate worth rupees 76 arab (76,000 million rupees).
- Every year, 64,000 people die due to tobacco use in Pakistan.
Raising Awareness in Sindh Province
SDTS organised two types of activities in two different districts of Sindh province.
One event was a seminar with young people in Khairpur – with a participation of 42 young activists including students, active citizens, and social activist.
The second event was a public rally in Tehsil Jhudo district Mirpurkhas, with participation of 202 community members including teachers, workers, farmers, business holders and social workers.
Participants were informed about the importance of the day, that the World Health Organization (WHO) every year celebrates World No Tobacco Day to create awareness regarding health hazards for smoking, to formulate policies, and implement laws to control the use of smoking.
Pakistan and Tobacco Legislation
In 2004, Pakistan ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) treaty and developed policies and an ordinance to stop and ban smoking advertisements.
The ordinance prohibits use of smoking in public places and public transport, sales of cigarette and tobacco to children, and sales of cigarette or relating with tobacco items within 50 meters of schools.