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Alarming trend: Youngsters puffing away lives in Cigarette smoke

The deadly trend of smoking among youngsters especially among students rising at an alarming rate in Peshawar which taking its toll on the health of youngsters.

Muhammad Junaid, 22, student of University of Peshawar (UoP) in Electronic department said while puffing on cigarette, “I started cigarette smoking at the age of 18 years and now I am addicted to it.” He said that “my friends used to smoke, but adding that I didn’t start smoking because of my smokers’ friends company, but it was my own choice. My friends didn’t force me for this habit.” He further said that “I live in a hostel in UoP and in hostels boys enjoy the freedom of smoking, adding that I am one of them.” My parents do not know about my addiction, he said, and added that because of the absence of parents’ fear, majority hostelites smoke.”

Qasimul Haq, another student of UoP, said “I do not smoke but my friends in hostel smoke cigarettes, adding that boys in hostel filled cigarette with charas (drug) and consume it.” He said that students know that smoking is injurious to health but they spoil their lives with every puff of cigarettes. He added that although cigarette sale is ban in the campus, but students buy it from outside and smoke in the campus.”

Another student, opted not to be named said “there is no fine or penalty for students who smoke in the campus, adding that professors themselves smoke so how will they ask their pupils to quit smoking? he questioned. He suggested that smoking should be banned in campus.

Worrisome mushrooming trend

When contacted, Chest Specialist of the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), Dr Arshad Javed said tobacco consumption among youngsters, particularly in Pakistan, and specifically in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is increasing rapidly. He said that according to Breath 2012-13 study—conducted by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)—in which he was a part of the study, “revealed that 28 percent people use tobacco in Pakistan.”

According to Tobacco Atlas Fifth Edition, launched on March 18 in World Conference on Tobacco or Health 2015 (WCTOH) in Abu Dhabi, UAE, “every year more than 108800 of it’s people are killed by tobacco-caused disease in Pakistan, while more than 555000 children and more than 20400000 adults continue to use tobacco each day. According to Oxford Economics ‘Asia-11 Illicit Tobacco Indicator 2012’, Pakistan is among top Asian state in illicit tobacco consumption.

Smoking is injurious

Dr Arshad said that “smoking cause lungs, throat, cancer, cardiovascular disease, Tuberculosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), impotency, psychological and other diseases, adding that due to lack of awareness, peer pressure and other reasons youngsters are falling prey to the ‘bad habit’—smoking—which he said kills.

Suggestions to kick a habit

The medical practitioner suggested that anti-smoking campaigns should be launched in order to aware people especially youngsters about the side effects of tobacco. He said that anti-tobacco laws should be strictly implemented, adding that smoking quit clinics should also be set-up in the country in particular and in the province in general in order to help smokers to quit the habit.

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