The billion smokers question (smoking) – Technology Times


In Pakistan, around 15.9% of its adult population smoke daily. Currently, the only options available to smokers are to continue to inflict damage.

Currently, there are over a billion adult smokers in the world and according to WHO estimates this number is not expected to decrease by 2025. Despite repeated tobacco control efforts, only 2.5% of smokers around the world successfully quit every year. At this rate, the WHO predicts that it would take another century to completely rid the world of the tobacco epidemic. Now the question is: are we prepared to risk the lives of over a billion people for another hundred years or are we going to make innovations in our traditional tobacco control policies that can help reduce the risks to the community? life of these billions of people?

Considering the harms of tobacco and its impact on global public health, extensive scientific research around the world has come up with effective ways to combat this global crisis. While some government-level efforts have helped reduce the incidence of smoking, the adoption of policies that recognize the need for harm reduction strategies and promote smoke-free alternatives have shown promising impact in helping smokers reduce their habit. to smoke in various countries.

England, which had one of the highest numbers of smokers in all of Europe, has reported a new low with almost two million fewer smokers now than in 2011. A Cancer Research UK study also showed that the number of cigarettes smoked by people who continued to smoke also decreased by 15% during this period. Additionally, Public Health England found in its seventh independent report that smoke-free alternatives were the most popular quitting aids during this time, particularly in 2020, resulting in successful quitting among 27, 2% of smokers. In addition, these products have also been scientifically proven to reduce harm to public health by offering smokers, who would otherwise continue to smoke, a lower risk alternative.

In addition to the success in England, New Zealand, in its mission to become smoke-free by 2025, has also passed a bill recognizing e-cigarettes as a less harmful alternative. Research by Edwards et al. (2020) has shown that smoke-free alternatives play an important role in reducing cigarette smoking.

In Pakistan, around 15.9% of its adult population is a daily smoker. Right now, the only option available to a smoker in Pakistan is to continue inflicting bodily harm or quitting the cold turkey. This approach does not respond to the comprehensive policies needed to provide adults who choose to continue to smoke with information and access to alternatives that can reduce the harms of tobacco. The introduction of reduced risk alternatives in addition to the tobacco control policies already in place in the country can synergize tobacco control efforts and provide an acceptable and less harmful alternative for adults, thus achieving the faster, more effectively and more efficiently.

Therefore, instead of relying on strategies that we know are not as effective, and smokers To continue to put their health at risk, it is time that we revise our traditional tobacco control policies according to the latest evidence-based approaches for the effective and consistent restoration of stable public health. This can be achieved by introducing less harmful smoking alternatives that can allow smokers to reduce the risk they put their bodies at before it is too late.

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