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Health Experts and Advocates Unite to Call for Ban on Novel Tobacco Products to Protect Youth

By: Ahsan Yameen

ISLAMABAD: The rising popularity and potential health hazards associated with novel tobacco products have prompted a unified call from experts and health advocates for immediate and comprehensive regulatory action. As concerns mount over the impact of these products, health experts and activists are urging authorities to take swift action to ban them and safeguard public health.

In a press release issued by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), health experts and activists underscored the urgent need for a ban on novel tobacco products, including flavored electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), heated tobacco devices, and nicotine pouches.

Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Head of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), emphasized that these novel tobacco products have gained popularity, particularly among youth and vulnerable populations. Despite claims of being safer alternatives to traditional tobacco, mounting evidence suggests they pose significant health risks.

Imran highlighted that many countries and regions have already taken proactive steps to address this issue. Bans or restrictions on flavored e-cigarettes and other novel tobacco products aim to prevent youth initiation and curb potential health crises.

Dr. Ziauddin Islam, Former Technical Head of the Tobacco Control Cell at the Ministry of Health, highlighted the concerning surge in consumption of these products, especially among young individuals. He stressed that these products contain addictive nicotine and harmful substances with potentially long-lasting health consequences. Dr. Zia emphasized the need for a proactive approach and prioritizing public health through a ban.

Dr. Zia further pointed out the alarming concerns associated with these novel tobacco products. Research indicates that the appeal of e-cigarette flavors significantly influences young people’s initiation into nicotine use. Moreover, the long-term health effects of inhaling heated tobacco and vaporized nicotine remain poorly understood, raising the risk of severe respiratory and cardiovascular complications.

Khalil Ahmed Dogar, SPARC’s Program Manager, urged policymakers and regulatory bodies to implement comprehensive bans on novel tobacco products. Such actions would not only protect the health of current and future generations but also align with global efforts to combat tobacco-related diseases.

Khalil added that the mounting evidence of potential harm from novel tobacco products underscores the need for collaborative efforts among governments, health institutions, and communities. Heightened awareness, public education, and robust policies prioritizing public health are essential in addressing this growing concern.

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