For making different educational institutes “Smoke-Free” as a part of the National campaign by Health Ministry, MoH declared COMSATS University Islamabad as a Smoke-Free Public Facility. In the event, few renown personalities from health sector of Pakistan including Dr. Minhaj us Siraj (Deputy Director, Tobacco Control Cell) and Dr. Nausheen Hamid (Federal Parliamentary Secretary, National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination) who was the chief guest along with Rector COMSATS University Islamabad Prof. Dr. Raheel Qamar participated in the event with full dedication. They shared their kind and valuable views and suggestions about the major health-threatening issues which are present almost in every part of the world due to smoking.
Prof. Dr. Raheel Qamar rector COMSATS University Islamabad talked about the hazards of smoking and discussed that how chemicals present in cigarette smoke are increasing the risk of many health problems including Lungs related diseases mainly Lung Cancer along with emphysema and asthma. He also talked about different states of the world that how they are working against the smoking issue including England, the USA, and other European countries.
He highlighted that the cultivation of tobacco is banned in England and this campaign of banning tobacco initiated from America and is followed by different European Countries now. Then he talked about Pakistan and gave a suggestion that cigarettes should be made so expensive that it could not be commonly and easily accessible to our nation and specifically to the young generation of Pakistan. He quoted the saying of King James VI in which he also showed dislike ness for smoking by saying “Smoking is hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, and dangerous to the lungs”. act He said that he already made the campus smoke free campus as COMSATS University had an implementation of the law against smoking in the year 2002 and it is still applicable and it will always be implemented at any cost and set the fine upon breaking of this law.
Dr. Minhaj us Siraj, Deputy Director Tobacco Control Cell said that almost around 22 million of the World’s population are smokers. After the studies, surveys and statistical analysis of every year it has been expected that in Pakistan 1200 people will begin smoking this year. He highlighted that around 26000 people every year are dying of horrible accidental death which is an alarming number which should be decreased by working on this smoking addiction issue. Sheesha and Vapes which people tink does not have harmful and toxic chemicals and is trending a lot nowadays has nicotine concentrates and toxic chemicals in the flavor more than that of cigarettes he said and suggested to ban them in all states of the world. He also talked about the hazards of nicotine and declared it as the main cause of Blindness and Lung Cancer.
He shed light on the Legal bindings and discussed some sections of Ordinance 2002, for Prohibition of Smoking & Protection for Non-Smokers Health” and shared that the main focus is on Session 7 i.e No Advertisements of Cigarettes. He also said that we will eradicate smoking from Pakistan just like we did for Sheesha Banning in our country by providing a lot of data to the supreme court that it has banned sheesha completely in restaurants. and other different places.
He shared his ideas and plans about how to make the city “Smoke-Free City”, he highlighted all of the departments including Deputy Commissioner, Mayor’s Office, Police, Education Department, Auqaf, and Excise Department who are and who will be helping him in the cessation of smoking. He felt proud by sharing that Pakistan is No.1 in tobacco controlling activity and said that five districts of Punjab have Tobacco cells to have a proper check and balance. In the end, he appreciated and thanked Prof. Dr. Raheel Qamar and Dr. Nausheen Hamid for working and taking action against the smoking issue.
Dr. Nausheen Hamid, (Federal Parliamentary Secretary, National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination) said that we should not completely rely on the Ministry of Health and other different organizations which are working on this issue, instead, we should individually at our own put some effort and help the organizations in the cessation of smoking. She emphasized on making our capital City Islamabad as the Model Health City and for that asked for making it a perfect smoke-free city which results in the attraction of tourists and other country’s and city’s citizens to come and get the best health facilities from Islamabad.
She said that the Parliament Building should also be declared and made Smoke-Free as the first priority. She also suggested the alternate use of tobacco to make effective medicines. She requested the Universities of Pakistan to do research and make tobacco effective towards different diseases.
The event was concluded by the LoI (Letter of Intent) singing between honorable Dr. Minhaj us Siraj representing the Ministry of Health and Prof. Dr. Raheel Qamar representing COMSATS University Islamabad with a promise to make Pakistan a Smoke-Free Country.