Integration of sustainable tobacco control in health, educational and environmental policy framework stressed
The speakers in a seminar on Tuesday, emphasized on sustainable tobacco control in Pakistan through integrating tobacco control in health, education, environment policies, and development framework to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals SDGs.
The seminar was organized by local non-governmental organization Blue Veins, in Peshawar on 31st May in holding of World No- Tobacco Day (WNTD) 2022. ChairpersonStanding Committee on Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, Lawmakers, policy makers, representatives from government departments, members of civil society, media, and academics were in attendance.
World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is observed around the world every year on 31 May to raise awareness on the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and call for global efforts for tobacco-control. This year the day is marked with campaign theme around awareness raising on environmental impacts of tobacco.
The speakers and participants of the seminar called for public attention to the tobacco epidemic in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and urged on raising public awareness about the environmental impact of tobacco use, and policies for sustainable tobacco control through multi-sectoral response.
Pakistan is one of the largest tobacco-consuming countries in the world. According to the Pakistan Household Integrated Economic Survey (HIES) 2015-2016, 45% of the households in Pakistan are tobacco consumers. Almost 23.9 million adults currently use tobacco in any form in the country (Ministry of National Health Services, 2018. Along with the dangerous health outcomes,the cultivation, production, distribution, consumption, and post-consumer waste of tobacco products are having shockingly widespread environmental impacts worldwide including Pakistan.
While addressing the seminar, MPA RabiaBasri Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Health Department said, “With its commitment towards accessible and equitable healthcare services and environmental protection, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has prioritized tobacco control in its health policy 2018-2025. In furtherance of policy, we are committed to promote dedicated interventions and policy actions for sustainable tobacco control in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in line with the targets of SDGs.”
Mr. Wajid Khan, Deputy Director Environment Protection Agency said, “Tobacco doesn’t just negatively impact the health of individuals, it also endangers the health of the environment.From start to finish, the tobacco life cycle is an overwhelmingly polluting and damaging process.”
“tobacco control is critical for environment protection, conservation, rehabilitation, and improvement. And it’s our mutual responsibility, for which multi-sectoral coordination and synergized actions are required by government and non-government stakeholders,” he added.
The speakers stressed on dedicated resources with effective policy measure to control tobacco use in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to achieve positive healthcare, education, environmental and development outcomes. Sana Ahmad Program Coordinator from Blue Veins said, “There is greater need to raise awareness,and sensitize stakeholders at large on tobacco control and effective adoption and implementation of sustained tobacco control policies for protecting community and environment from hazardous tobacco products in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.