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Doctors urged to counsel patients against smoking KARACHI: A mere three minute counselling against cigarette smoking by doctors can help prevention of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) that not only affects lungs as well as other human organs but also contributes to anxiety and depression. This was the consensus opinion of doctors at a seminar jointly organized by Pakistan Chest Society and Department of Chest Medicine Jinnah Post graduate Medical Center to commemorate World COPD Day on Wednesday. Speakers on the occasion included Dr. Nadeem Rizvi (JPMC), Dr. Nisar Rao (Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases), Dr. Mohammad Hussain (Liaqut National Hospital), Dr. Sohail Akhter (Ziauddin Medical University), Dr. Nawal Salahuddin (Aga Khan Hospital) and Dr. Zafaryab Hussain (Aga Khan Hospital). Experts said that in Pakistan, the estimated COPD mortality rate is 71 deaths per 100,000. According to a national survey the prevalence of chronic bronchitis in the population over 65 years of age was 14% in rural females and 6% in rural males. In urban population, the prevalence was less than 2%in the age group of 15-24 and greater than 9% above 65 years of age, higher prevalence in female might be due to exposure to household smoke, use of biomass and wood as fuel. They said COPD being a chronic condition is not treatable, however, medication can improve life quality and can halt deterioration of health on long term basis. They said vaccination can prevent infection that ultimately stops COPD induced deterioration in the health status of concerned patients. Speakers specially referred to pneumococcal and anti influenza vaccines. Experts also explicitly discussed new guidelines to prevent COPD and particularly focussed on relevance to quit smoking. Prof. Nadeem Rizvi, President, Pakistan Chest Society said COPD is a non-communicable lung disease that not only progressively robs sufferers of breath, but is also responsible for 3 millions deaths of every year. Dr. Sohail Akhtar, a Pulmonologist associated with Ziauddin Medical University said that worldwide, the most commonly encountered risk factor for COPD is cigarette smoking.