By Jam Sajjad Hussain
LAHORE – Experts believed the usage of tobacco has comparatively decreased but that of sheesha, a modern way of addiction, is increasing day by day in Punjab province especially in the capital city.
They also suggested that also sheesha should be treated like tobacco so that the future of Pakistan and the nation could be saved.
According to the statistics, sheesha houses are growing in numbers in major cities of Pakistan including Islamabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Karachi, Hyderabad, Quetta, Jacobabad, Peshawar, Nowshera, Muzaffarabad, Hajiabad, Holar, Gilgit, Sakardu and other cities. Especially in the Punjab capital, at least four main stores located at Bhaati Chowk and in Thokar Niaz Baig areas are selling sheesha.
Most of the youths including girls and boys under 18 visit sheesha houses, cafes, restaurants, hotels and clubs located in DHA, Model Town, Johar Town, Allama Iqbal Town, The Mall, Board of Revenue Society, MM Alam Road in Gulberg and Tech Society to use sheesha on daily basis especially in the evening.
“Earlier, the provincial government was taking keen interest in making legislation regarding this new form of addiction but it has been proved just beating of drums to gain popularity in politics,” a Punjab Assembly member from the Opposition commented.
On the other hand, almost a decade has passed when the tobacco industry was stuck with a tough legislation almost in all over the world under the umbrella of World Health Organisation and its treaty Framework Convention on Tobacco Control with 172 signatory countries including Pakistan.
A special team of doctors believed many non-governmental organisations were creating awareness among the people that tobacco is injurious to health.
They said there are about 5 million deaths annually due to tobacco-related diseases, with the balance split roughly between developed and developing countries. They further claim, “If the trends continue by 2030, the figure would increase to 10 million deaths annually, with 70 per cent of these lives lost in developing countries.”