Smoking in Pakistan kills approximately 100,000 people a year.
Reportedly 22-25 million people in Pakistan are smokers and 55% of households contain at least one smoker according to the Ministry of Health Services, Regulations and Coordination. Smoking in Pakistan takes over 100,000 lives annually while the growing use of sheesha is emerging as a health risk amongst the youth. Sheesha however has been banned in major cities of Pakistan effectively, but smoking in Pakistan is still on the rise.
Around 36% of adult males and 9% of adult females are tobacco users, so the male to female ratio is 4:1, while the boy to girl tobacco usage ratio is 2:1. In a year, five million people die across the world as a direct result of tobacco use. The economic loss (or for that matter putting money to fire) is also tremendous. For example, estimates claim that smokers cost the U.S. economy $97.6 billion a year in lost productivity, and that an additional $96.7 billion is spent on public and private health care combined. These statistics equal 1% of the total GDP. A male smoker in the United States that smokes more than one pack a day can expect an average increase of $19,000 just in medical expenses over the course of his lifetime. A U.S. female smoker that also smokes more than a pack a day can expect an average of $25,800 additional healthcare costs over her lifetime.
In a widely hailed move, Pakistan’s Ministry of Health recently introduced a new, larger size of pictorial health warning on cigarette packs that covers 85% of cigarette pack on both sides. The measure made Pakistan only the third country in the world besides Thailand and India to have enhanced pictorial health warning to 85%. According to some estimates, a smoker looks at this picture at an average of 7,000 times a year. Moreover, those who intend to initiate smoking are discouraged by the warning whereas it encourages those who intend to quit smoking.
During smoking, a substance is burned and the resulting smoke is breathed in to be tasted and absorbed into the bloodstream. Most commonly the substance is dried tobacco leaves rolled into cigarette on an industrial as well as individual level. Less common drugs for smoking includes cannabis and opium. Canabis is made from the flowers or leaves of Cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Indica. The substance is considered illegal in most countries of the world and in those countries that tolerate public consumption, it is usually only pseudo-legal. Since cannabis is illegal or only tolerated in limited jurisdictions, there is no industrial mass-production of cigarettes. Despite this, a considerable percentage of the adult population in many countries have tried it with smaller minorities doing it on a regular basis. Some of the substances like heroin, are classified as hard narcotics, but their use is very limited as they are usually not commercially available. However, recent years have shown an increase in the consumption of vaporized heroin, methanmphetamine and phencyclidine (PCP) along with a smaller number of psychedelic drugs (drugs that are thought to alter the thought processes of the brain) such as, DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine), 5-Meo-DMT, and Salvia Divinorum.
Most common form of smoking is use of cigarettes. Other smoking implements include pipes, cigars, bidis, hookahs (smoke passes through water; considered to be relatively safe), vaporizers, and bongs (water pipes used for cannabis). The history of smoking can be traced back to as early as 5000 BC, and has been recorded in many different cultures across the world. Early smoking evolved in association with religious ceremonies; as offerings to deities, in cleansing rituals or to allow priests and other religious bigwigs to alter their minds for purposes of divination or spiritual enlightenment.
After the European exploration and conquest of the Americas, the practice of smoking tobacco quickly spread to the rest of the world. In regions like India and Sub-Saharan Africa, it merged with existing practices of smoking (mostly of cannabis). In Europe, it introduced a new type of social activity and a form of drug intake which previously had been unknown.
Smoking generally has adverse health effects, because smoke inhalation inherently poses challenges to various physiologic processes such as respiration and others. Diseases related to tobacco smoking have been shown to kill approximately half of long term smokers when compared to average mortality rates faced by non-smokers. Reportedly, over 5 million people worldwide die as a result of smoking. Smoking tobacco is among the leading causes of many diseases such as lung cancer, heart attacks, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), erectile dysfunction, and birth defects. In fact, most of the body parts and functions are affected by smoking. The health hazards of smoking have caused many countries to institute high taxes on tobacco products, run ads to discourage use, limit ads that promote use, and provide help with quitting for those who do smoke. Acrolein, formaldehyde, acrylonitrile, 1,3-butadiene, acetaldehyde, ethylene oxide and isoprene are some of the genotoxic cancer causing chemicals in tobacco smoke.
In an effort to curb smoking in Pakistan, the government introduced a ban on cigarette advertisements throughout the country decades ago. Furthermore, to reduce smoking in Pakistan, the government is now working on a resolution that would only allow licensed tobacco dealers to sell cigarettes.You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ for more updates. Otherwise fill in the subscription box above, or subscribe to our RSS Feed.