Sugar drinks, smoking cause growing diseases and cost the government billions,

SANA ULLAH GHUMAN

The Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) has been working for the last 36 years to prevent heart disease among the people. In addition to co-administering CPR to save lives in the event of a heart attack, PANAH also helps poor and underprivileged people to have heart surgery and tries to prevent the causes of heart attacks.
Here we will talk about two reasons which are not only the cause of heart disease but also the root cause of many other diseases, namely tobacco and sugary drinks. According to British research, those who use too much sugar cane die 16 years before their age. The average age of smokers is reduced by 10 years. These diseases are causing the 68% of total deaths rates in Pakistan. The cost of living for these diseases has become 51 per cent.
Dr. Nora Volko, director of the American Financial Institute, said that their use weakens a person’s immune system, which in turn reduces their ability to fight against diseases, and reduce the chances of recovery.
These are not necessities of life but the cause of diseases. They increase the suffering of the people. They also increase the expenditure of the government, which has been exceeded up to 190 billion.
The producers of these products take their profits to other countries and leave only the diseases and their expenses in Pakistan. In our society the use of these items is increasing day by day in which the number of children is increasing which is endangering the future of the country and sadly children are not considering it harmful but they take it as fashion. Pakistan is producing more than 200 million soft drinks, more than 241 million Joyce Squash and 80 billion cigarettes.
It is the duty of the government to control the use of unnecessary items that are not useful for living. Unfortunately these products have the lowest price in Pakistan as compared to other countries of the region.
Much research’s have shown that the best way to control consumption of any item, is to increase its price. According to the WHO, a 10% price increase reduces usage by up to 8%. But in our country, the companies that make these products do such tactics that they force the government to reduce the prices. For Example, Every year before the budget, the tobacco industry starts propaganda and tries its best to show himself as victim, but now it has been proved by its experience that their propaganda is not a reality. According to a recent WHO report, they spend 8 billion on this propaganda and use the same old tactics every year. Even underreporting their production and supply their own products to the market illegally, to create evidence for illicit trade.
Now an independent study has also found that they present incorrect figures. I requested Prime Minister, if you have started work against mafia, like sugar industry, also investigate these industries which revel the corruption of billion.
In last year’s budget, the government took a big step in this direction and passed a bill to impose surcharge on cigarettes and sugary drinks. The cabinet and the prime minister have also passed it. But bill was not implemented in the budget. Had it been so, according to the bill passed by the government, today the revenue on these two things alone would have exceeded Rs 50 to 55 billion. The hand of the mafia will also be seen in this conspiracy. I urge the Prime Minister of Pakistan to expose this mafia and implement it, which will bring extra revenue to use for the betterment of people. There will be less disease in the country and less government spending on health.

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