A recent study on smoking prevalence in Pakistan revealed that 16 per cent of all schoolgirls surveyed had tried tobacco in some form.
Prof Javed Khan, the head of the section pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Aga Khan University (AKU), said this while speaking at an ongoing medical education programme titled 'Recent advances in respiratory medicines' held at AKU on Sunday evening.
He said that this was a frightening trend, and that respiratory diseases in Pakistan were on the rise because of the trend of smoking, particularly among the youth of the country.
"Over 90 per cent occurrence of lung cancer could be prevented if smoking was avoided. Smoking is currently responsible for over 100,000 deaths annually in Pakistan and if left unchecked, mortality from tobacco use could mount to over 500,000 per year by 2020," the Daily Times quoted him as saying.
Dr Asif Imam, an allergist at the AKU, said that 20 per cent of the children and 10 per cent of the adults in the country suffered from allergic disorders but most patients were not receiving optimal treatment for this condition.
"Asthma is the most common form of allergic disorder in Pakistan," he added.