No Tobacco day was observed all over the word today (31st May). The purpose of observing this day is to draw our attention towards health risks associated with smoking. Awareness programs in UAE electronic media were on-air discussing the life threatening risks of smoking. Further, the sale of tobacco was prohibited for the whole day in order to encourage the population, youth in particular, to get rid of this habit.
Talking about Pakistan it is sad to observe that least awareness campaigns were observed in electronic and print media. Not a single TV ad was noticed in television all day long. Further, it is observed that the price of 20 cigarettes packet is only 5 AED in Pakistan comparing to that of Australia 60 AED and UK 40 AED.
It's a tragedy for a nation where joblessness density is increasing day by day; low cigarette price and its easy availability adds fuel the fire. The depressed youth have easy access to tobacco with the misconception that they will get quick relief from their stress without considering the long term cancers they are developing in their bodies.
On top of that the least effective attitude of ministries is very disheartening. As per world health report in Pakistan 574 Cigarettes per adult per year are smoked. Comparing to India having 129, Nigeria 189, Afghanistan 98, Sudan 77 cigarettes per adult per year it is critically important for the health ministry to device concrete strategic moves in order to eradicate this disease from the nation. For example cigarette availability in the market should be limited, strictly prohibited for sale under 18 and the selling cost should be high so as to discourage people buying all kinds of tobacco products. Last but not least, a lot of awareness campaigns in print, electronic and social media are to run by relevant ministries and authorities.
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