KARACHI: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), being the mother organization of the medical fraternity, is also a patient-friendly organization that has always raised its voice for the improvement of the state of health in our country.
The PMA has been running campaigns petitioning for the ban of tobacco and chalia (betel nuts) in all forms in Pakistan to save the lives of people because they are hazardous for health. It is also proven clinically that the juice of good quality chalia has carcinogenic properties. When it is mixed with tobacco and other hazardous items, it becomes more dangerous for human health. Tobacco causes cancer, and 166000 people die in the country annually due to the use of tobacco in different forms.
In this regard, a letter has been written to Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, the Federal Minister for Railways to implement the prohibition of smoking and protection of non-smokers health ordinance 2002 in letter and spirit in the jurisdiction of Pakistan Railways. The letter also requested the declaration of train compartments and railway stations as tobacco and chalia free areas.
Smoking, consuming tobacco in different forms and chewing chalia are common habits amongst Pakistanis. It is not uncommon to see people spitting everywhere in public spaces, including railway stations. The smokers not only harm their own health but also put the health of non-smokers around them at risk.