A plan of action to be prepared for the crack down on the sellers of Novel Tobacco Products in South Punjab: Additional Chief Secretary Capt.(r) Saqib Zafar

Multan, Jan 12; Due to the increasing dangerous trend of using various tobacco products, the young generation is falling victim to novel tobacco products mixed with nicotine and toxic chemicals and the use of products containing electronic cigarettes, heated tobacco and nicotine pouches is becoming common. Dangerous diseases started to arise from this nicotine and toxic chemicals. The government has moved to stop the use of novel tobacco.

In this regard, the first high-level meeting of the Novel Tobacco Control Committee was held at the South Punjab Secretariat, which was presided over by Additional Chief Secretary South Punjab, Captain R. Saqib Zafar. Secretary Services South Punjab Tanveer Iqbal Tabassum, Secretary Higher Education Aamir Aqeeq, Commissioner Multan Ashfaq Ahmad Chaudhry and Commissioner DG Khan Khalid Manzoor participated in the meeting while Commissioner Bahawalpur Raja Jahangir Anwar participated through the video link. Additional Secretaries of Primary and Secondary Health Care and Specialized Health Care South Punjab, Directors Excise and Deputy Directors Foods of Multan, Bahawalpur and DG Khan, representatives of all universities of South Punjab and DG Health Services South Punjab were also present in the meeting.

It was decided in the meeting that a plan of action will be prepared to crack down on the sellers of novel tobacco, recommendations about legislation to ban novel tobacco will be sent and an awareness campaign about its harms in schools, colleges and universities will be started.

Additional Chief Secretary South Punjab Captain R. Saqib Zafar while addressing the meeting said that the use of novel tobacco among the young generation is increasing rapidly and it is a becoming a lifestyle and fashion. He said that use of these drugs can make a person mentally and physically sick. Captain R. Saqib Zafar said that if the growing trend of novel tobacco is not stopped, it will have dangerous consequences.

Syed Kausar Abbas, Executive Director SSDO and Sofia Mansoor of Campaign for Tobacco Free kids (CTFK) briefed about the current situation of novel tobacco products in Pakistan. It was briefed that considering novel tobacco are harmless is a misleading concept, one can be addicted to these drugs. I was told that Novel Tobacco is causing asthma and cancer in the young generation. The sale of these products has been banned in various countries but is being openly sold in various stores in Pakistan in attractive packaging. It was told that 12 percent of youth above fifteen years of age in Pakistan are addicted to the novel tobacco products. The meeting was further informed that 170 thousand people die every year due to smoking in Pakistan. It was tressed in the meeting that it is need of the hour to impose an immediate ban on all novel tobacco products.

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