29% population smokes cigarettes in Pakistan: expert

KARACHI: Head of Chest Medicine Department, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center Prof Nadeem Ahmed Rizvi on Saturday said Pakistan’s 29 percent population smokes cigarettes, and this trend has been increasing owing to non-implementation of laws in the country.

He shared these statistics while talking to PPI. Prof Nadeem said about 50 percent population of the country has been consuming various tobacco products, out of which 29 percent smoke cigarettes. He said smoking cigarettes and chewing health hazardous tobacco products are more common in urban areas of the country as compared to rural areas.

He revealed that nine percent women in rural areas of the country smokes cigarettes and hookah( water pipe) on regular basis, while Sheesha smoking by female smokers in their teen age and 20s has increased rapidly in urban areas.

Prof Rizvi said usage of tobacco products in the form of Shisha and cigarettes is gaining popularity among people as tobacco companies glamorizes tobacco products’ sale procedure. He said consumption of cigarettes and Shisha is not only dangerous for smokers but also hazardous for other people.

He said smoking cigarettes had increased the incidents of lungs cancer, heart attacks, strokes, chronic cough and other lethal diseases. He said seven out of 10 lethal diseases are caused by smoking and other tobacco products consumption.

He said many western countries have successfully controlled the smoking and consumption of tobacco products by implementing laws. He stressed the need of creating awareness among general public to prevent them from diseases.

He said all necessary laws exist in the country but unfortunately, authorities concerned had failed enforced them in the society. He said sale of tobacco products like betel leaf, betel nut, mainpuri, and gutaka should be banned, and law should be implemented strictly. He suggested that government should increase the prices of cigarettes and other tobacco products to reduce the sale of tabaco products.