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Tobacco claims 5 million lives every year worldwide

KARACHI: Out of a total 6,440 million world population about 1,200 million smoke cigarettes with a cost of about Rs 5,000 million.An estimated 700 million children or almost half of the world’s children breathe air polluted by tobacco, smoke, particularly at home, second-hand smoking that causes many serious diseases in children and worsens conditions such as asthma.   Psychiatrist Dr Syed Mubeen Akhtar addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club (KPC) said tobacco including Shisha was injurious to health and caused many illnesses like heart disease, chest disease, mouth cancer, besides causing throat tongue, stomach, teeth and some sexual disorders. He said quitting tobacco products could simply prevent these diseases.He said the habit of cigarette smoking and chewing of tobacco with betel leaf was more in the developing countries including Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and India. He said trend of tobacco use in increasing day-by-day and young generation was the prime target. He pointed out the tendency of cigarettes smoking was much lesser in countries with higher literacy rate. He said government of Pakistan had passed ordinance in 2003 the cigarette smoking would be prohibited within 500 yards of limits of any educational institution but this restriction has not been implemented.He stressed the need of campaign for information and awareness against tobacco chewing and smoking. He said according the teaching of Islam taking any substance that harm the mind or body was a sin and some scholars consider tobacco completely prohibited, while all were unanimous in declaring it a sin.He informed tobacco products were made entirely or partly with leaf tobacco as raw material, which are intended to be smoked, sucked, chewed or snuffed and all contain the highly addictive psychoactive ingredient and nicotine.     He said six most effective policies that could curb the tobacco epidemic were outlined in World Health Organisation (WHO) MPOWER strategy: (monitoring tobacco use and prevention, protecting people from tobacco smoke, offering help to quit tobacco use, warning people about the dangers of tobacco and raising taxes) on tobacco  products.He urged the print and electronic media, government and health organisations to play their due role in informing people about the dangers of tobacco products. He said use of medicines and treatments by method of hypnosis and psychotherapy are very useful.   He demanded of the Chief Minister, Governor Sindh, IG Sindh, CCPO Karachi and other authorities concerned to impose ban on sale and purchase of tobacco products in province.Senior Psychiatrist Dr Salahuddin Siddiqui was also present. The press conference was organised on the eve of World Anti-Tobaccos Day. 

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