PESHAWAR, June 20: Speakers at a workshop have called upon the government to make proper legislation against use of tobacco snuff and implement the anti-smoking law to protect people, mainly the new generation, from health hazards.
They said that matters like ban on smoking had become provincial subject after approval of the 18th Constitutional Amendment and asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to launch action against those selling cigarettes and snuff (naswar) to underage boys and girls, and those using it in public places and transport.
These views were expressed by people belonging to various segments of society in a workshop titled “Smokeless Tobacco and Role of Media”, which was organized by Sustainable Development Vision (SDV) at Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday.
The stakeholders urged parents and teachers to save teenagers from the curse of narcotics, which was the root cause of fatal diseases and social evils in the society.
SDV executive director Ziafat Zaman, lamented that the government had not yet shown determination to control use of cigarettes, liquor, sheesha, snuff, paan supari etc as all such drugs were the major cause of mouth, throat, stomach and lung cancers, especially among teenagers. He stressed on creating awareness of harmful effects of narcotics among youth and said that media could play an effective role in keeping youth away from drugs.
He also referred to an unofficial data showing increasing number of tobacco snuff sellers in different districts like Haripur and Mardan. He said that the administration should check the sale of these items in their respective districts.
Civil society activist Mukhtar Bacha said that awareness campaigns were essential to inform people of the negative impacts of smoking and use of snuff.
Assistant coordinator officer Zafar Ali Shah, who was chief guest on the occasion, admitted that 99 per cent shopkeepers used to sell tobacco items even to underage boys despite ban on such practices. He said that a sheesha house on University Road had been sealed recently and a number of teenagers were arrested and their parents informed about their wrong deeds. “We will arrange awareness sessions in government schools on monthly basis to discourage use of tobacco,” he said.
Journalist Shamim Shahid said that one could avoid smoking by showing strong determination. Khyber Union of Journalists president Arshad Aziz Malik assured full support to the SDV and government for launching media campaign against use of tobacco.