Peshawar: Anti-smoking law 9 booked in Peshawar, Mardan for violation
PESHAWAR, Feb 26: The provincial government has launched a campaign to implement the anti-smoking law in the designated districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after being instructed by the federal government.
“So far nine persons have been booked for violating the Prohibition of Smoking for Protection of Non-Smokers in Public Places in Peshawar and Mardan. Four districts — Peshawar, Mardan, Swabi and Charsadda — were declared models for implementation of the law two years ago,” said Dr Ziauddin Islam of Tobacco Cell of Ministry of Health Islamabad.
Talking to Dawn, he said that implementation of Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Law was responsibility of the provincial governments. The federal government through SRO 1068, issued in 2009, had delegated the powers of implementing the law to provincial governments, he said.
Committees for the implementation of the law in target districts have been formed under district coordination officers with district police officers, executive district officers of health and education departments as its members. The committees are tasked to ensure that the law takes its courses against all those, who violate any section of it, to protect non-smokers from the ill-affects of tobacco.
“We are not satisfied with the performance of the departments concerned to implement the law in letter and spirit. The federal government has declared 2011 as the Year of Implementation of the Prohibition of Smoking for Protection of Non-Smokers in Public Places. Officials in these districts had been imparted training to register cases against those smoking in public places, offices, hospitals, hotels, cinemas, public transport and other enclosed places,” he said.
Dr Islam said that about 20 cases were registered in Lahore and four in Gujranwala under different sections of the law.
The law strictly prohibits sale of the cigarette in 50 metres radius of educational institutions. “All the stakeholders have been instructed to play their role,” he said.
The penalty for violating any section of the law is between Rs1,000 to Rs5,000 but if the violators again break any section of the law, then they can face three-month jail or fine of Rs100,000 or both.
He said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa implementation committee worked under the director-general health while secretaries of health in other provinces headed the committees. “About 1,250 persons mostly teenagers start smoking every day,” he said, citing studies about tobacco use in the country. He said that 5,000 were hospitalised in Pakistan owing to smoking every year.
“We are urging the governments to launch awareness campaigns regarding the hazards of smoking to save the coming generation from tobacco use,” he said.