KARACHI: Mayor Wasim Akhtar expressed concern over the increased use of tobacco use by youths. Stressing the need to save the youth, particularly students, from smoking, he said all hospitals of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and offices should affix ‘no smoking’ boards in their premises.

He said this while speaking as a chief guest at the seminar held at the Sobhraj Maternity Hospital on World No Tobacco Day on Thursday.

Akhtar said around 12% deaths all over the world occurred due to cardiovascular diseases, which are a result of the use of tobacco.

On an average, 600,000 people die each year due to environmental pollution caused by tobacco, while six million deaths occur due to direct use of tobacco, he said, adding that in Pakistan, 160,100 deaths occur every year due to the use of tobacco.

World No Tobacco Day: ‘Prioritise tobacco control to cut cardiovascular diseases’

This year, he said, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has joined with the World Heart Federation to highlight the link between tobacco and cardiovascular diseases.

Using tobacco causes cancer and lung disease, but many people are not aware that tobacco also causes heart disease and stroke.

“This World No Tobacco Day attention is being drawn to the fact that tobacco does not just cause cancer, it quite literally breaks hearts,” he said.

It is unfortunate that despite a lot of damage due to the use of tobacco, he said, some organisations are still working to promote tobacco through various lucky draws and other means to lure the people, especially the youth, into the use of tobacco.

He asked the media to play a vital role in stopping this trend in society.

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The government, he said, has the responsibility to protect citizens from suffering needlessly from heart disease and to take measures to reduce the risks to health posed by tobacco. This includes declaring all indoor public and workplaces as smoke-free zones and promoting the use of tobacco package warnings against the health risks of tobacco, Akhtar suggested.

He said besides the government, citizens should also fulfill their responsibility and refrain from the use of tobacco in any form. “Only then can we fulfill the dream of a healthy and disease-free society,” Akhtar said.