Say No To Tobacco

1100195497-1.jpgToday is International No Tobacco Day. On March 31st each year the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative (TBI) organises events world wide in order to “raise awareness about the existence of a great variety of deadly tobacco products in order to help people get accurate information, remove the disguise and unveil the truth behind tobacco products – traditional, new, and future.” In this vein, efforts are also underway in Karachi, something I noticed personally, were these adverts by the Federal Ministry of Health, as well as the city district government in today’s Express.

Its good to see the government making at least some effort, however, as we all know, making a law (namely the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance 2002) is one thing, actually applying it is quite another. It is very common to see bus conductors them selves smoking away, when ironically, they should be the people who should make sure their transport remains smoke-free. And the ordinary non-smoking citizen doesn’t have much hope left when even the police officer he or she intends to go and complain to is smoking away casually him self.

WNTD_homepage.gifAnd before you think this is something that is prevalent only in the uneducated masses, think again. A family member recently changed his job from a well known multinational car company, and one of his reasons was because 8 out of 10 people in the office were heavy smokers. The biggest irony was that a massive “no smoking” board resided comfortably outside the manager’s office, who too, of course, was a smoker. Then there is the new trend of “shisha smoking” amongst the city’s youth and elite. On a recent trip to Indulge, I noticed a group of young female teens struggling to even smoke shisha properly, yet their pride at just even attempting to taste this virtual suicide, which according to some doctors is equivalent to smoking 7-10 cigarettes at a time, was a thing to see.

I know smokers who smoke but at least they admit they are aware of the risks they put themselves into, unlike some others in this city, who dismiss all the adverse effects of it, as if they were some sort of urban myth, when on the contrary, it is a myth that shisha, or tobacco in any other form, mild, light, low tar, full flavour, fruit flavoured, chocolate flavoured, natural, additive-free, organic cigarettes, PREPS (Potentially Reduced-Exposure Products), harm-reduced, any form of tobacco at all is actually safe for you and for those around you.

According to WHO, “There is no doubt: breathing second-hand tobacco smoke (SHS) is very dangerous to your health”. “It causes cancer, as well as many serious respiratory and cardiovascular diseases in children and adults, often leading to death”. “There is no safe level of human exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke”. “These are the indisputable conclusions reached by international and national health authorities, backed up by extensive rigorously reviewed and published research results, over many years.”

Some people counter the non-smoking laws by using spit tobacco, or as it is also called, smokeless tobacco, but according to the American Cancer Society, chewing tobacco and snuff pack is an even bigger nicotine punch than cigarettes. And worryingly, this practice is very common amongst the poor and deprived in Karachi, for whom it offers a relatively cheap “nasha” that perhaps helps them take their minds off their daily problems for a while.

Whichever way you see it, tobacco kills; it has shown to cause cancer, heart and lung diseases, stroke, and effects fertility in women, in addition to causing serious diseases in neonates if their mothers smoked during pregnancy. It is also responsible for bad breath, various oral diseases and leads to a deadly addiction. Over all, tobacco is the second major cause of death in the world and WHO estimates that it is currently responsible for the death of one in ten adults worldwide (about 5 million deaths each year). At this rate, it will cause some 10 million deaths each year by 2020. Half the people that smoke today -that is about 650 million people- will eventually be killed by tobacco.

Save your self, and save others around you. Say no to tobacco.

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12 Comments so far

  1. Hasan Zuberi (unregistered) on May 31st, 2007 @ 6:30 pm

    Very good post Zainub:

    Indeed it is time people should learn about smoking and its consequences.

    And yes SHEESHA is another form of Smoking … unfortunately it has introduced as a fashion in Karachi and has spread to other parts of the country now.


  2. pkhan (unregistered) on May 31st, 2007 @ 7:58 pm

    All the public area’s such as restaurant, Airports lounges, Cinema houses, buses, trains, etc should be ‘SMOKE FREE’. MOre people get sick because of second hand Smoke(Person might not be a smoker but he is inhaling some one’s else cigarette smoke).
    We need to create this awareness to the masses.


  3. KhiTorPit (unregistered) on May 31st, 2007 @ 9:29 pm

    What is sheesha smoking ?


  4. Zainub (unregistered) on May 31st, 2007 @ 9:34 pm

    KhiTorPit, See this.


  5. Balma (unregistered) on May 31st, 2007 @ 10:02 pm

    *Zainub Writes

    Then there is the new trend of “shisha smoking” amongst the city’s youth and elite. On a recent trip to Indulge, I noticed a group of young female teens struggling to even smoke shisha properly, yet their pride at just even attempting to taste this virtual suicide, which according to some doctors is equivalent to smoking 7-10 cigarettes at a time, was a thing to see.

    ******** My comments

    What is the difference between Shishah and Huqah?
    Technically speaking. Not the looks.

    This new Shishah craze is another gift of too much arabization of our people, esp the Dubai palaT (Returned from Dubai) kids.
    Just like we have millions of Fahads born in Pakistan since Fahad became the looter of Arabia in 1981/82, and billion Osamas, our people think shishaas must be good too because arabs do it!


  6. SELF (unregistered) on May 31st, 2007 @ 10:31 pm

    This shisha business is becoming popular among Asian youths in UK too..usually desi establishments are the ones to provide such “facilities”.


  7. Abdullah (unregistered) on June 1st, 2007 @ 2:01 am

    Let’s see what the Kashif Hafeez is saying on the same issue

    http://kashifhafeez.com/mazameen_large.php?path=2007-05-31&img=kh_articles/large/2007-05-31.gif


  8. Hasan Zuberi (unregistered) on June 1st, 2007 @ 9:10 pm

    @ BALMA:
    If we take your philosphy, can you suggest why you named yourself (atleast for handle) Balma … what were you or in that case your parents thinkiing by naming you Balma.

    Brother try to bring some sense in your life and especially in your posts.


  9. Balma (unregistered) on June 1st, 2007 @ 11:07 pm

    Zuberi Wrote:

    If we take your philosphy, can you suggest why you named yourself (atleast for handle) Balma … what were you or in that case your parents thinkiing by naming you Balma.

    Brother try to bring some sense in your life and especially in your posts.

    ******** My comment:

    I think the word is quite romantic and I like it as my ID.

    My point was, and let me put it differently, I will be surprised to find any fahad in Pakistan who is more than 28 / 30 years old.

    People are naming their kids with lots of weird words from Arabic. If you talk to Arabs you will find that they make fun of Pakistani/Indian Muslims of having stupid Arabic words as names.


  10. bingo (unregistered) on June 3rd, 2007 @ 3:10 am

    I am reading this post and looking at my Cohiba cigars……………..ok

    One last kushhhhhh.


  11. bingo (unregistered) on June 3rd, 2007 @ 3:11 am

    Balma Arabic words are stupid or not, you sure are……….LOL


  12. chewie (unregistered) on June 6th, 2007 @ 3:47 am

    Saying “NO” to tobacco on a daily basis is the best way to quit. Don’t try to say “I’m going to quit forever”… it’s too big a concept. Quit day by day and they will begin to add up.

    KillTheCan.org – http://www.killthecan.org – has some great resources to help you quit dipping. There is a free, anonymous community located at http://forum.killthecan.org/ which is run by 7 ex-dippers. Head over today to regain your freedom from addiction to tobacco!



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