Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) raised alarms on the reports of the Tobacco Industry moving to regularize Heated Tobacco Devices, a move which health activists believe will put the health of Pakistani children in grave danger.
Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Head, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), stated that since Pakistan’s independence 75 years ago, there hasn’t been a single day where the tobacco industry hasn’t directly hurt our children.
Tobacco Industry needs children as replacement smokers to swap for the people who lose their lives due to tobacco consumption. This industry believes that the life of Pakistani children is cheap and meaningless therefore they try all possible means to earn money at the expense of children’s health.
Whether it is deceptive and misleading campaigns to gain more customers or direct interfering in public policy, the industry tries to throw dirt in our eyes. An industry whose products are responsible for the loss of 170,000 lives every year, is trying to launch more deadly products only because it believes it can get away with this by paying a negligible tax – which is no way near the damage it causes.
Dr. Ziauddin Islam, Country Lead Tobacco Control, Vital Strategies, Former Technical Head of Tobacco Control Cell of Mo NHSRC, and Former Technical focal person of the Government of Pakistan for WHOs FCTC; said the tobacco industry sees Pakistan as a “key trial market” for nicotine-based products and children are its test subjects. Tobacco Industry is promoting and marketing novel products without restrictions.
He mentioned that claims of these products being cessation items are one of the biggest fallacies going around. These products are nothing but a new gimmick to early more money. He demanded that there should be a complete ban on nicotine products and the government should adopt necessary legislation at the earliest to save Pakistan’s youth.
Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Program Manager SPARC, said that the tobacco industry has repeatedly proven by its actions that it doesn’t care for the health and lives of Pakistani children. It is up to the government, civil society, academia, and media to unite and put a barrier against this industry which is trying to derail our future by putting our children at risk.
There’s a dire need to adopt a sustainable National Tobacco Control Policy which ensures that anti-child move is made now or in the future.