PANAH for ban on Velo as new tactic of tobacco industry

ISLAMABAD, Aug 19 (APP): Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) on Friday urged the government to ban Velo which was a new tactic of tobacco industry to trap the youth into addiction of nicotine pouches equally injurious to health as smoking.

The PANAH experts expressed their great concerns over the proliferation of Velo, nicotine pouches an alternate to cigarettes, in the market that had become vogue among young boys and girls alike, a news release said.

“Smoking is one of the leading causes of cancer. A large number of people in Pakistan are addicted to smoking and their number is more than 20 million. Our youth is also getting addicted to drugs as around 1,200 children start smoking every day,” a PANAH official said.

The PANAH as a social organisation, alongwith the government, was trying to educate people about the hazards of smoking whereas in order to reduce its use the tobacco industry launched a new product called Velo.

“These are nicotine pouches that are placed in the mouth and dissolve in the mouth and do not require spitting. The tobacco industry is misleading people that these pouches are a safe alternate to cigarettes and are harmless even though they contain nicotine and many other harmful chemicals that can cause heart ailments, cancer, kidney diseases, stunted growth, etc.”

He added that the use of Velo increased the demand of nicotine in the body and the user became addicted to it very quickly and could not quit it.

“Many people came to the industry and started using it to quit smoking and now they have become addicted to it as well as cigarettes. Velo is being marketed in very attractive packaging and is available in many flavors.”

He underlined that the special target of the industry was educational institutions to accustom maximum youth to it.

“In stores, they are placed exclusively with items that tempt young people. There is no warning sign on it that its harmful to health. The industry’s main target for Velo is girls. Parents do not know that their daughters have become addicted to this drug.”

He said PANAH strongly appealed the government to play its role to save the youth from this drug and protect the future of the nation by banning Velo.