Stories about cigarettes

When the poor pay with their lives for fizzy drinks

Travel through rural Pakistan and two things will strike you. One is heart rending poverty and the other is hospitality. Visitors are greeted with warmth and selfless generosity. The poorest of the poor will immediately call for ‘paani’ for their visitors. Paani means water in Urdu, but in the local lexicon it has come to mean a bottled fizzy drink. And ‘paani’ brooks no refusal. Visitors can demur all they want but the host is not deterred.  “It’s only paani”, he says. “It can do no harm”. But it can and it does. The impression amongst the general public that it ...

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Can’t get shisha in DHA? Go somewhere else!

The libertarian and the doctor in me have been at war with each other for some time, generating a tremendous deal of cognitive dissonance regarding the use of shisha. I have recently begun leaning away from the ban. Here’s why, The recent move by the Defense Housing Authority (DHA), Karachi to ban cafes from serving shisha has expectedly drawn some controversy. I’ve personally never smoked shisha in my life (Hi mom! Thanks for reading my blog!) but I still believe I’ve acquired enough information about it to make a case against the ban. The most obvious problem with the ban is that it applies only ...

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Busting myths about shisha

There is a common misconception in Pakistan that smoking shisha is not as harmful as smoking cigarettes. This notion exists despite the publication of research conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which shows that an average pipe smoking session of around an hour is equivalent to smoking up to 200 cigarettes. Cancer, TB and dreary consequences Scientific studies regarding the adverse health consequences of smoking shisha point to dangers that are similar to, if not worse than, those associated with smoking cigarettes. Research conducted on shisha use has clearly shown that it has particularly serious health consequences on the lungs and ...

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Cigarette promotions: Is free always better?

My brother, who is studying in Malaysia, recently went to a tobacco company-sponsored event where free cigarettes were distributed among all those in attendance. He didn’t tell us about it himself; his Facebook did. Upon questioning, he said it was a promotion whereby two free cigarettes were given out to each individual who showed his identity card and the event pass. Further probing revealed that the crowd mostly comprised young men and women between the ages of 18 and 30. It is human nature that when something is being offered free of charge, one feels the compulsion to have it. Of ...

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Are Electronic Cigarettes safer then traditional Cigarettes?

At a time when the number of smokers worldwide is at its highest, and antismoking policies are proliferating, the sector for alternative smoking products is in a froth of excitement about the potential to increase its market share and revenues. In recent years several manufacturers, have produced electronic cigarettes (ecigarettes) that are distributed to various countries including Pakistan. Electronic cigarettes look and feel like cigarettes, but do not burn tobacco. Electronic Cigarettes are now being widely advertized in electronic and print media of Pakistan. Many smokers are asking the health professionals about the safety of these new devices. Existing ...

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Bronchial Asthma, under-diagnosed and under-treated

There has been a sharp increase in the global prevalence, morbidity, mortality, and economic burden of Asthma over the last 40 years, particularly in children. Approximately 300 million people worldwide currently have asthma, and its prevalence increases by 50 per cent every decade. In Pakistan, 10 per cent of children and 5 per cent of the adult population suffer from asthma. Asthma is under-diagnosed and under-treated in our country.  Most asthma deaths are preventable. Asthma deaths are mostly caused by inadequate long-term medical care or delays in receiving medical help during an acute attack. People with asthma can live a normal ...

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