KARACHI: The Sindh health department has finally done something that would benefit the citizens at large. It recently finalised a bill prohibiting the preparation, manufacture, storage, sale and use of chewing tobacco, which is gutka and mainpuri, in the province. Although this bill still awaits judgment at the Sindh Assembly, it comes as a ray of hope of improvement in health and well-being of the people in the province.
Almost half of the population residing in the rural areas of the province indulges in the bad habit of eating or selling tobacco. This addiction often leads to fatal health conditions, such as lung cancer, as gutka, mainpuri and pan addicts have up to 70pc more chances of developing cancer due to tobacco and other hazardous ingredients used in them. Besides, considering that most of the sufferers hail from less affluent backgrounds, affording proper health care becomes almost impossible. This results in many patients living in their ailing conditions without any medical attention.
From teenagers to adults, households not only in Sindh but, in fact, the country has at least one member of their family chewing tobacco. This Bill, once implemented, should also be adopted by other provinces in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2017.