According to the statistics of 2022, 19.1 per cent of the Pakistani population consumes tobacco on a daily basis. Of this, 38.1 per cent are men, whereas 5.8 per cent are women.
If this wasn't worse enough, at least 72.5 per cent of adults are exposed to second-hand smoke daily at the workplace.
From this, it can be deduced that smoking or any form of tobacco consumption is on the rise in Pakistan.
However, to understand why that is the case, we should glance at the psychology behind the habit of tobacco consumption.
The CDC claims that in 2018, around 8 per cent of children attending high school and 2 per cent of middle school had reportedly smoked cigarettes.
A recent study from the National Library of medicine mentions the change in the trend of the usage of cigarettes over the past two centuries.
Smoking had gained popularity during the beginning of the twentieth century.
However, as more and more knowledge regarding the dangers of cigarette smoking came to light, there was a slight decrease in 1964 after its sudden peak in 1957.
During the '60s, the first warning sign was introduced on cigarette boxes after the correlation between cigarettes and lung cancer had first been proved true.
Since then, marketing trends surrounding cigarette smoking have changed. Since the beginning, cigarette companies have targeted young adults in their campaigns and advertisements.
This is where the idea of cigarettes being 'cool' or 'attractive' came into being.
In such marketing strategies, it is easily noticeable that it is always the cowboy with the cigarette in his hand that successfully attracts the woman.
Furthermore, the attractive qualities of flavoured cigarettes further lured the masses as they attempted to 'try' the next new trend.
Mint flavoured cigarettes attracted a certain percentage of the female population as well, as is the trend till today.
This glorified depiction of cigarettes in the media is why this addiction has overshadowed the innocence of our youth.
More often than not, it can be noted that children who had begun smoking did so in their teenage years, during which time the idea of being accepted by their peers is a robust phenomenon.
The stories of how this became a habit are all similar, either being convinced into the habit by a close friend or just under the influence of a class fellow.
It is safe to say that while there are many easily available options in Pakistan to begin smoking tobacco, there should also be similar programs to aid the youth in quitting the habit.
Not only is it important to broadcast the harmful effects of smoking amongst the masses, but it is also important to conjoin a team of individuals working in the healthcare sector. It includes general physicians, psychologists, therapists, and pulmonologists to work as one toward the singular goal of eradicating the use of tobacco and cigarettes by the youth in our country.