’25m Pakistanis smoke and half of them will die of tobacco diseases’

KARACHI: About 25 million people in Pakistan smoke and according to an estimate about half of them will die of tobacco related diseases, said Dr Syed Hussain Askary, Head of Dental Public Health, Director Academics & Administration, Fatima Jinnah Dental College FJDC.

According to World Health Organization, globally 5.4 million deaths are caused every year due to tobacco use and by 2030, there will be more than 8 million deaths every year. Unfortunately, 80% of these deaths will be in developing countries like Pakistan.

FJDC observed Tobacco Control Week to marked World No Tobacco Day, which is celebrated globally every year on 31st May. The inaugural seminar was arranged on 30 May at Fatima Jinnah Dental Hospital located in Azam Town.

Professor Dr Naveed Rashid, President Pakistan Dental Association Karachi, Professor Dr Tasleem Hosein, Principal, FJDC and Dr Gulrukh Askary, head of Oral Pathology, FJDC, and also showed keen interest in the activities.

Leaders and experts in the field presented lasted research & information and provided training to over 1000 attendees. The seminar highlighted that tobacco use leads to diseases affecting the heart and lungs, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attack, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, and cancer, particularly lung cancer, cancers of lungs and mouth and pancreatic cancer.

It is also the number of cause of bladder cancer. The high prevalence of oral cancer has been linked to tobacco use, particularly in conjunction with chewing betel quid or paa. While oral cancer is the eleventh most common cancer worldwide, in Pakistan, oral cancer is the second most common cancer after lung cancer in males and breast cancer in females. Tobacco is therefore responsible for the two most common cancers in males in Pakistan.

Tobaccoinduced oral diseases also include periodontal disease, tooth loss and congenital defects. These contribute high to the countries burden disease. Dr Hussain Askary informed that dentists are playing a very important role in addressing tobacco use in the population, especially among youth of the country.

Dentists have special advantages in tobacco prevention and cessation, as they build patient interest in tobacco cessation by showing the actual tobacco effects in the mouth and give advice on the health effects of tobacco and usually succeed in preventing it at an early stage.