KARACHI: Tobacco smoking in Pakistan is legal but only over the age of 18. In Pakistan, about 177 million cigarettes are consumed every day. According to the Pakistan Health Survey, 46 per cent men and 5.7 per cent women use tobacco.
Although major consumption of tobacco can be attributed to some particular age groups only, young adults, particularly university students in Pakistan make up 15 per cent of smokers with the majority being male. Alongside smoking, sheesha smoking too is on the rise in Karachi. It has become a fashion statement for youngsters in particular to smoke ‘hookah’ in ‘hookah lounges’.
Lung cancer tops the list of diseases that are caused by tobacco consumption, resulting in death of approximately 100,000 people every year in Pakistan only. The government should implement regulations to cut down on the use of tobacco in its various forms. Smoking in public places, offices, schools, colleges and universities must be banned. The government should also restrict shopkeepers not to sell cigarettes to those below the age of 18.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2018.