ISLAMABAD: Health experts on Tuesday urged to quit smoking to avoid deadly disease of cancer as every year nearly 80,000 Pakistanis lose their battle for life against this disease.
They said that despite awareness campaigns and commitments the disease was steadily on the rise and in Pakistan alone, there were more than 1.4 million cancer patients.
A public health expert, Dr Sobia Faisal, said it was an undeniable fact that after cardiovascular disease, cancer was the second biggest killer in the world and there were an estimated 8.2 million deaths from cancer in 2012.
She said cancer was among the leading causes of the non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which constituted 60 percent of the total health burden of the country.
On the other hand, smoking and use of various tobacco forms were the major risk factors behind incidence of cancer, she added.
Executive Coordinator of The Network for Consumer Protection, Nadeem Iqbal expressed his concerns over the rising trend of smoking and incidence of cancer in Pakistan.
He said that various reports and surveys conducted at national and international levels had revealed that smoking is directly linked with cancer.
He added International Lung Cancer Morbidity and Mortality Trend Report 2014 reveals that more than 90 percent of the lung cancer is caused by active smoking and according to the recent Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey Report (PDHSR 2012-2013) incidence of smoking has increased during the last one decade.
He said that there is a stark increase in tobacco use among men as 45 percent of male population of 15-49 years use some form of tobacco.
Of the total number of smokers 70 percent use tobacco in the form of cigarettes.
In this backdrop it is clearly evident that smoking or tobacco use is a risk factor for lung and other forms of cancer, he added.
He said smoking and incidence of cancer in Pakistan is not only harmful for its users but everyone in its proximity.
Second hand smoke is equally hazardous and causes number of diseases including lung cancer, he added.
“In order to combat both tobacco epidemic and cancer incidence we need to put more pressure on the industry and not just on the consumers.”
He said that NCDs specially cancer prevention and control should be on prior agenda, and the commitment of the government is essential to take appropriate measures at the national level for having sustainable policy.