Various private and public anti-tobacco organizations on Wednesday arranged different activities to observe World No Tobacco Day in Pakistan.
Over 100 representative organizations in collaboration with the Coalition for Tobacco Control (CTC) organized seminars, rallies, and various activities across the country, including the display of posters and banners to raise awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco use on the day.
These activities aimed to raise awareness among the public about the adverse health effects of tobacco, the burden on public health budgets, and the spread of tobacco-related diseases.This year’s theme of World No Tobacco Day is “We Need Food, Not Tobacco” as increasing cultivation of tobacco have caused scarcity of land that we direly need to meet our growing demand of food.
Speakers in these events said that the tobacco industry contaminates our water, soil, beaches, and streets with chemicals, toxic residues from cigarettes, including microplastics, and e-cigarette waste.
They said that tobacco industry uses approximately 22,000 billion tons of water to produce cigarettes. “If we prioritize food over tobacco, we can solve our food scarcity issues.”
During these events, public was informed that how tobacco industry has come forward aggressively in order to maximize its profits. “It is crucial to remember that millions of people lose their lives due to tobacco consumption every year, yet the tobacco industry continues to expand while increasing its profits,“ they added.
In Pakistan, tobacco-related causes claim the lives of nearly 160,000 individuals annually, and approximately 1,200 to 1,500 children start tobacco use before the age of 18. It is of utmost importance to protect future generations from the harmful effects of tobacco.
They said that international health organizations and tobacco control agencies work in collaboration with the Government of Pakistan throughout the year. “There is a need for extensive efforts against tobacco, which is why World No Tobacco Day is observed on May 31 each year, in partnership with the World Health Organization, to raise public awareness,” they added.