Member National Assembly from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Romina Khurshid Alam, has said that every responsible citizen should match their voices with her against the tobacco menace in the country.
She made these remarks while speaking at a high-level roundtable meeting on ‘Warning on Tobacco Products — Capacity Building within Legislative Framework.’
The meeting, organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), was attended by leading health experts, member of civil society, academia, and media.
“This is disturbing to admit that smoking is increasingly becoming a status symbol in our young generation,” Romina Khurshid said during the meeting.
She pressed on the need for raising awareness among the people against tobacco consumption and called on the government to implement the existing laws.
Khalid Hussain Magsi, chairperson of the Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulation & Coordination said that Pakistan is the fifth largest tobacco producer in the world and this crop yields a massive revenue for us.
“But this doesn’t change the fact that smoking is a silent killer where tobacco usage gradually impacts the health negatively,” Magsi said.
He said this was the time to create consensus among all the stakeholders on alternative crop production and that the farmers must be taken into confidence and should be convinced of impressive alternative options.
Parliamentary Secretary for National Health Services, Dr. Nausheen Hamid gave some good news to the participants of the meeting.
While lamenting the government for not implementing the laws, she stated that in the recent past, Speaker National Assembly has constituted a special committee on agriculture to bring about a consensus on alternative corps production and to resolve the issues that afflict the tobacco farmers and industry.
The Executive Director of SDPI, Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri said there is not much credible data available especially on socioeconomic health cost of tobacco product usage.
He termed it as a gap of legislation and informed decision-making and offered to help the parliament in legislation through research-based alternative crop production options and usage of advanced technology in the agriculture sector.