This Thursday, Senate directed the Health Ministry to order all federal and provincial secretaries into imposing tobacco control laws in their respective areas, through the relevant authorities.
Contact details of the relevant authorities, including their names and phone numbers will be publicized through these authorities who will be responsible for taking action against complaints related to smoking in public places.
The National Health Services, in their letters, placed emphasis on the violation of tobacco laws. They discussed this with the Senate Standing Committee on Health in a meeting which was held last month at October 31.
Reminding the committee of the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smoker’s Health Ordinance 2002, the secretary from the National Health Services said that all public places including public service vehicles should be tobacco-free and must have “no-smoking” signs.
He added that children under 18 should not be sold cigarettes or other smoking material at all.
The respective secretaries have also been requested to remove any shops that sell tobacco near educational institutions. Even the storage and distribution of tobacco substances close to educational institutions will not be tolerated.
These outlets must not be within a 50-meter distance from schools and colleges according to the secretary.
Ministry officers, who are grade-20 and above, have the authority to act against violators, which is why the secretaries have been told to direct the relevant authorities to make sure that tobacco laws are followed while also publicizing contact details of prominent ministries and their officers who have the authority to take action.
Before this, the Supreme Court also directed all provincial chief secretaries authorities to firmly enforce anti-tobacco laws.
Tobacco use continues to claim many lives year by year. About 108,800 people in Pakistan die every year because of smoking and tobacco use.