PR No. 76 Islamabad: March 9, 2017
Minister, National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar has requested the provincial Chief Ministers to issue necessary directions to the relevant authorities to ensure compliance with the tobacco control laws in best public interest. This request has been made in compliance with the directions of Prime Minister of Pakistan issued in a meeting of the Federal Cabinet to ensure strict compliance with the existing tobacco control laws.
In letters issued to provincial chief ministers, the Minister has raised the issue of violations of tobacco control laws being taking place across the country. In this context, she quoted different sections of “The Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smoker’s Health Ordinance, 2002“. She requested to ensure that all places of public work or use and public service vehicles should be completely tobacco smoke-free. Similarly, there should be no sale of cigarettes and other smoking substance to persons under age of 18 years. The CMs have been requested to ensure ban on sale, storage and distribution of tobacco products within and 50 meter of the educational institutions. It has also been requested to display no smoking signs at all places of public use or work. Since all police officers (ASI and above) are authorized persons to take action against the violators, so, all the CMs have been requested to issue necessary directions to the relevant authorities to ensure compliance with the tobacco control laws.
It is pertinent to mention that Supreme Court of Pakistan, in Suo Moto Case on Tobacco Epidemic of Pakistan, had issued the directions to ensure compliance with “The Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smoker’s Health Ordinance, 2002”. These directions were issued to all provincial chief secretaries.
Tobacco use is single largest preventable cause of death in the world. In Pakistan, tobacco is a cause of death of around 108,800 persons every year. This is 298 deaths per day. Enforcing existing tobacco control laws would be helpful in curbing tobacco epidemic in Pakistan.