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People seek protection against tobacco industry.

ISLAMABAD -- Tobacco industry has been killing over 100,000 Pakistanis every year using various tactics to entice people especially youth.

Around 1200 children initiate smoking daily while the government feeding on the annual revenue of Rs15 billion paid by the industry, is indifferent to their plight.

Hundreds of visitors, mostly health professionals and doctors, expressed these concerns in an open letter to Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif during the twoday annual health conference held at Health Services Academy (HSA).

TheNetwork for Consumer Protection (TN) also participated in the conference by organizing an awareness campaign and set up an awareness stall to sensitise people against devastating impact of tobacco use and to introduce the model law for comprehensive ban on Tobacco Advertisement Promotion & Sponsorship (TAPS) to the visitors.

Some 200 letters were signed on the occasion. Endorsing TN initiative, the visitors urged the Prime Minister 'to stop tobacco industry from spreading death and disease in our beloved country.'

The letter was written both in English and Urdu and the participants through the letter drew the premiere's attention towards the fact that against Rs15 billion annual revenue the government has to spend much more to cope with the health burden caused by tobaccorelated disease.

"One month cost of the treatment of a cancer patient is Rs100,000 and there are hundreds and thousands of cancer patients in the country," they said in the letter. They called for stringent action to undermine tobacco industry tactics.

The visitors of TN stall had a consensus view that the only way to check tobacco industry's tactics is to pass a comprehensive law on TAPS.

In these letters, they suggested to the Prime Minister to take a simple step i.e. "Immediately legislate a new law that comprehensively bans Tobacco Advertisement Promotion & Sponsorship (TAPS)." They ended the letter with the following words, "Please do it before it's too late."

Some of the institutions that participated in the conference included including Federal Medical & Dental College Islamabad, Shifa International Medical College & Hospital, AlShifa Eye Trust Hospital Rawalpindi, Ayub Medical College Abbottabad, International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) Health Services Academy, Yusra Medical College Islamabad, Agriculture University Peshawar, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), KRL Hospital and Benazir Bhutto Hospital Rawalpindi.

The Network's team on this occasion briefed the visitors about the model law that the main objective for advocating comprehensive ban on TAPS was to protect present and future generations from the serious consequences of tobacco consumption.

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Publication:The Frontier Star (Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Dec 26, 2014
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