KARACHI: A coffee-table book ‘A world without smoking: One picture is worth a thousand words’ was launched at the Indus Valley school on Monday in a room full of paintings by teenagers from schools across Karachi, depicting happy images of a cigarette-free world along with gloomy ones displaying the evils of the deadly habit.
The book, authored by art critic and curator Marjorie Husain, is a compilation of work from a Pfizer Pakistan competition last year. “The idea focused on generating interest among schoolchildren, as most smokers take [it] up in their teens,” said the company’s Ahmer Ashraf. Many schools took part, including the The City School PAF Chapter, CAS, The Citizens Foundation and St Joseph’s Convent. When asked if a book was a good idea in an environment where less and less children are reading, Ashraf pointed out that it was mostly “based on pictures with small descriptions.”
Marjorie Husain told The Express Tribune that the book was not aimed at teenagers. Instead, it was a message from young people, who are well aware of the effects of smoking, to the adult population. “Young people who have experienced their adults smoking; for them smoking became allegorical in their lives,” she said. When asked if she ever smoked in her life, Husain said that she had started when she was in high school in England. However, she managed to give up the habit soon.
Naheed Raza, one of the judges of an earlier competition, Jimmy Engineer and Dr Javaid Ahmed Khan, chairperson of the National Alliance for Tobacco Control, came. Raza appreciated that children were so aware of the evils of smoking.
According to Dr Khan, every year more than 100,000 people die of smoking. “I see victims of tobacco every day. Even at this moment, my hospital as patients gasping for air,” he said. The government has passed anti-smoking laws, but the public is not aware of them. The law that was passed in 2002 has yet to be implemented properly. The doctor said that 24 per cent of university students in Pakistan smoke sheesha and if they are not stopped, “we will see a disaster in the next 10 years”.
Smoking is banned in public spaces
You can’t sell cigarettes to people under 18 years.
Tobacco products are supposed to be heavily taxed
Advertising for tobacco products is banned
All sorts of sponsorship by tobacco companies is illegal.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2011.