Islamabad: Islamabad & Rawalpindi Bar Associations offered extended support to The Network for Consumer Protection for furthering tobacco control movement and anticipated legal support to lodge petitions to save the health rights of Non-Smokers. Syed Javaid Akbar Shah Advocate, President Islamabad Bar Association and Mr. Sajid Ilyas Bhatti Advocate, President Rawalpindi Bar Association were addressing to a session of professional bodies and citizen groups held by TheNetwork for Consumer Protection.
Smoke-free courts and bar associations of Rawalpindi & Islamabad will create a positive impact and set an example to be adopted by different segments of society, Mr. Nadeem Iqbal, Executive Coordinator of TheNetwork said while he was apprising and applauding the annunciation about smoke-free district courts by Presidents of Rawalpindi and Islamabad Bar Associations.
Presidents of Bar Associations of twin cities also commented on poor enforcement of Prohibition of Smoking & Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance 2002 and Tobacco Vendors Act 1958 and emphasized the need for effective enforcement of tobacco control laws.
Vice President Rawalpindi & Islamabad Press Club Syed Ejaz Shah and Representatives of Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists, Assistant Director Legal Consumer Protection Council Rawalpindi, Executive Director Intermedia Mr. Adnan Rehmat, Heartfile and doctors of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) were also present and discussed the different aspects of need for Comprehensive Ban on Tobacco Advertising, Promotion & Sponsorship (TAPS).
Dr. Hassan Mahmood, Project Coordinator Tobacco Control TheNetwork made a comprehensive presentation to participants to elucidate the misconceptions related to tobacco use. Smoke-less tobacco is as dangerous to health as smoking tobacco, Dr. Mahmood said while highlighting “tobacco is deadly in any form or disguise”.
Pakistan needs strong political will to stop the tobacco epidemic that kills more than 274 people each day. Recently held UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 also acknowledged “The global burden and threat of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) constitutes one of the major challenges for sustainable development in the twenty-first century”. Tobacco is a strong risk factor for all four top Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) and #1 preventable global killer, tobacco use should be a top priority in any development agenda of Government of Pakistan, said Nadeem Iqbal.
Pakistan has got the solution to overcome the challenge years back after ratifying Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), obligates Pakistan to enact measures to prevent and reduce tobacco use. FCTC offers authentic measures for tobacco consumption; the easiest remain to outlaw Tobacco Advertising, Promotion & Sponsorship (TAPS). Pakistan bears a burden of more than 100,000 tobacco related deaths each year and can make significant progress in improving health of its people by re-articulating a strong commitment to FCTC and enforce laws in letter and spirit to save Non-smokers from the danger of tobacco smoke.