Every year in Pakistan, around 160,000 people die due to the consumption of tobacco mainly through smoking cigarettes. Health risks of smoking cigarettes and consuming tobacco are killing people and is the main cause of many severe diseases.
Pakistan is among those 15 countries of the world where the consumption of tobacco is highest. Despite the awareness, people still are unable to let go of the addiction and new people are starting smoking daily. All the campaigns, advertisements and awareness programs arranged for highlighting the dangers tobacco has on human health goes in vain and nobody is ready to let go of the addiction.
Smokers are increasing daily in the country. Youth is the one who starts smoking at an early age and then keeps smoking for their whole life. Many do it due to stress, tension, and depression, while many start it in gatherings with their friends for fun and some do it as a fashion symbol.
Many poor are also addicted to the consumption of tobacco. They spend whatever money they earn to buy cigarettes with their low expenses. Adults are fully addicted and they have no way out which ultimately leads them to have some severe diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, tuberculosis, and diabetes. Even at the height of a disease, they are unable to quit the addiction.
Cigarette smoking is considered a silent killer as it slowly destroys a person internally with the passage of time without the knowledge of smokers. Firstly, it directly attacks the heart through which many heart diseases are borne like ischemic heart disease. In this disease, the heart does not get enough blood and oxygen to function properly which may lead to heart failure, severe chest pain, arrhythmias and ultimately death. Some other effects of smoking are high blood pressure, over-weight, unhealthy blood cholesterol level, teeth problems, and obesity.
Pakistan is a developing country where cigarette companies are not properly regulated. Many local low quality brands are also available in the markets with poor quality of tobacco, which poses even more dangers to people. When these cheap local brands with substandard packaging and poorly processed tobacco are consumed by a large number of populations, many diseases are contracted and a surge in death rate is observed due to heart diseases and lung cancer every year.
According to research the estimated deaths due to cigarette smoking are 160,000 every year, which is 438 deaths every day. The majority of deaths are due to lung cancer. 7000 chemicals are created when a cigarette is lit, around 70 of them cause cancer and others are declared as the most harmful chemicals for the human body. Most importantly, smoking also affects the surrounding people. These highly harmful chemicals cause mouth cancer, stomach cancer, throat cancer, kidney cancer, uterus cancer, cancer of the larynx, and causes acute myeloid leukemia.
Apart from smoking, tobacco is also chewed and sniffed through paan, hookah, naswar, bidis, cigar, vape pen, gutka, sheesha, etc. Naswar is abundant among poor and sheesha is the most popular thing among youth that has become a fashion symbol.
How common is smoking in Pakistan?
According to the report of the World Health Survey carried out in Pakistan, the prevalence of any form of smoked tobacco among adults was 19.9% (33.5% for males and 6.2% for females)
Quitting tobacco consumption can save many lives. Government regulation must come to action and the tobacco industry must be regulated. Awareness campaigns highlighting the health risks of smoking tobacco must be increased and people must be educated with ways to quit the addiction.