EXPERTS SUGGEST MEASURES TO AVERT HEALTH HAZARDS

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ISLAMABAD, APR 17 (DNA) – Efforts to raise awareness about the harmful effects of E-Cigarette need to be intensified to save people from health hazards resulted by this growing trend. The academicians and experts said this while sharing their views with the participants of the webinar ‘E-Cigarettes – myths, realities and the policy, way forward in Pakistan’ held by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI. 

While highlighting various aspects of the issue, Dr Javid Ahmed Khan from Agha Khan University, said that more than thirty countries have already banned e-cigarette. He said that the nicotine is a gateway drug which greatly hampers the development of brain, especially in the young grow ing people. The advertisement of e-cigarette needs to be banned as well as its use in the public spaces, he suggested.

Mr Khurram Hashmi, representing the Union Pakistan, informed the participants that the union is actively campaigning against unconventional e-cigarette and raising awareness about its negative implications for the health and environment. He added further that according to experts, such products are e qually harmful for health, especially lungs and heart.  Therefore, a new legislation which needs to club the e-cigarette with the conventional cigarette.

Technical Advisor Bloomberg Project, SDPI, Mr Waseem Janjua earlier highlighted that the E-cigarette companies spent $ 1 billion annually on advertisements worldwide. He opined that the E-cigarette contains more hazardous contents than the normal cigarette, but it is unfortunate that in Pakistan, e-cigarette is openly sold in the grocery stores of the posh areas.

Mr Muhammad Sabir, Principal Economist at Social Policy Centre, was of view that a more evidence-based data is needed to determine the actual ratio of its use and thus, e-liquid or e-cigarette products could be clubbed with the conventional cigarettes in the tax net. He suggested that a specialized survey should be conducted to determine the actual import share of e-liquid in Pakistan. 

Head of Centre for Health Policy and Innovation, SDPI, Syed Ali Wasif Naqvi, while moderating the webinar, said that in the 21st century, the e-cigarette has been in use as an Alternate Nicotine Delivery Systems but actually they serve as the next generation tobacco products. He added that the economy of e-cigarette is expected to touch $30 billion globally till 2022. He proposed an immediate policy intervention in the field of e-cigarettes while evaluating its health hazards as well as loss to the national exchequer.=DNA

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