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Vaping trend may aggravate Pakistan's oral cancer crisis, warns expert

Press Release

Tue. 2 January 2024


KARACHI: In an informative session held recently at NED University of Engineering and Technology, renowned consultant oral surgeon, Dr Hera Nadeem, shed light on the alarming prevalence of oral cancer in Pakistan.

Addressing the audience, comprising students, faculty members, and staff from various departments, Dr Nadeem underscored the need for awareness regarding the health hazards associated with betelnuts, smoking, and vaping.

During her presentation, Dr Nadeem revealed alarming oral cancer statistics in Pakistan, identifying it as the second most prevalent cancer in the country, transcending gender, and notably, the foremost cancer among males.

Emphasizing the preventability of oral cancer, she pointed out that over three-quarters of diagnosed cases are habitual users of betelnuts, pan, and similar substances. Contributing factors include smoking, poor oral hygiene, a strong family history of oral cancer, and undernutrition.

Beyond the scope of oral cancer, Dr Hera Nadeem spoke about the broader health risks linked to smoking and vaping. She elucidated on smoking's adverse effects on various organs, heightening the risks of cancers such as mouth, lung, colon, and pancreas, along with other health issues like heart attacks, strokes, and chronic lung diseases.

Shockingly, she disclosed that smoking causes approximately 166,000 deaths annually in Pakistan, with 31,000 attributed to passive smoking. Dr Nadeem further highlighted the substantial financial burden of smoking on the nation, estimating a collective annual expenditure of Rs615.07 billion on tobacco-related products.

Expressing deep concern over the increasing popularity of vaping among the youth, Dr Nadeem cautioned against its perception as a harmless alternative to smoking. She detailed the harmful substances present in e-cigarette aerosols, including acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde, which pose risks of lung and cardiovascular diseases. The herbicide acrolein, found in e-cigarettes, also adversely affects cognitive functions, especially in developing brains.

Dr Hera Nadeem concluded her address by urging students to adopt healthy habits, recognizing the role of the youth in shaping Pakistan's future.

The university's management thanked Dr. Nadeem for her dedication to this noble cause, delivering an enlightening presentation.


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