Say No To Tobacco

1 Hour Sheesha smoking is equivalent to 100 Cigarettes smoked
World No Tobacco Day 2016 organized at Atomic Energy Medical Center (NORI), Islamabad

The World No-Tobacco Day was organized at NORI on May 31 to raise awareness about the negative health impact of tobacco. “Say NO to tobacco” was the slogan communicated by the Oncology department of NORI. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco kills around six million people globally every year, including over 600,000 non-smokers who die due to second-hand smoke. As a member of United Nations it is our obligatory duty to celebrate the occasion with enthusiasm and assurance.

All the worthy guests were welcomed by Dr Mohammad Faheem, Director NORI.

Dr Sana Mehmood highlighted the background of “World No Tobacco Day” since 1987.

Dr Humera Mahmood, Head Oncology department NORI shared alarming facts about tobacco usage in Pakistani women. In her lecture about “Women at Par with Men”, she informed the audience that more than seven percent of our rural women use tobacco either in the form of huqqah, naswar, pan chewing or cigarette. She mentioned the survey conducted by Ministry of NHS and RC (2012-13) revealed that around 6% of female were using some form of tobacco and mainly belonged to relatively younger age group, lower socioeconomic status and with no education. She stressed that women feel empowered, confident and independent with smoking. They relates it as a “manly thing” while some consider it as a status symbol in elite class. She stressed to spread the word to others that tobacco use can lead to lung, oral cavity, larynx, esophagus, stomach, urinary bladder, cervix, ovary and even kidney cancer. She shared NORI patient data 2010-15 showing 31% male and 8% female cancer patients were smokers. She emphasized the dual responsibility of female as a mother that they are the first learning institute for their children and if children observe their mother as smokers, it will affect their mental, social, emotional, psycological and physical health. In the end she stressed the tobacco users that holy month of Ramadan is an ideal time to quit the habit.

Dr Mohammad Faheem, Director NORI presented the efforts and role of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission in fight against cancer. All the Atomic Energy Cancer Hospitals are involved in early diagnosis and effective treatment. His address included an attention-grabbing picture of a child smoker. He also up-dated the audience about male and female Pakistani smokers in 2015 which were 39.7% and 2.7%, respectively according to WHO statistics. He said that 90% lung cancer and 42% chronic obstructive lung diseases are attributed to cigarette smoking. He reiterated middle aged men of 40-54 years are indulged in cigarette smoking in Pakistan. Further he informed about toxic ingredients of cigarette, Hukka, sheesha and cigar. 1 Hour Sheesha smoking is equivalent to 100 Cigarettes smoked and 8-10 times naswar chewing/day is equivalent to 2 packs of cigarette. He emphasized that media, politicians and public figures should come forward and play pivotal role in the campaign against the menace. He encouraged quitters that within 20 minutes of quitting blood pressure returns to normal.

Dr Jamal Nasir, President Pakistan Green task Force appreciated the silent struggle being made by Atomic Energy Cancer Hospital NORI in cancer treatment as well as cancer awareness.

Member Science PAEC, Dr S.M. Javed Akhtar highlighted the services provided by Atomic Energy Cancer Hospitals. He mentioned that realizing the need of cancer treatment, PAEC has made a web of 19 hospitals throughout the country. State of the art equipment and dedicated team work in all the nineteen centers of PAEC is the key to success. The presence of huge gathering today speaks itself that most of you are with us in this fight against tobacco smoking. More than 80% of cancer patients are being treated at Atomic Energy cancer Hospitals regardless of age, financial status and stage of disease. He stressed that nothing was impossible and the awareness campaign could be turning point for a smoker to quit. These gatherings for masses will definitely show their effects in future. He also suggested that media should play a vital role in reducing the ambiguities about shisha and other addictions.

Chief `Guest of the event Mr Irfan Siddique, Advisor to PM on National History and Literary Heritage emphasized that our awareness campaign should be extended to an extent that need of hospitals for treatment could be reduced. Much less of money is required for cancer awareness as compared to cancer treatment. He expressed his dissatisfaction with the role of media in cancer awareness campaign. World No Tobacco Day should not be limited to 24 hours only, fight against tobacco should be continued throughout the year.

Brave patients of NORI also shared their experiences that how they fell victims to tobacco and had to suffer from disease like cancer. They stressed that smokers should quit as soon as possible as to avoid visiting cancer hospitals again and again.

Symbolic cigarette was crushed by the participants as a gesture to show their hatred for tobacco consumption. Walk for the cause was held in the end and educational material was also distributed.

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