RAWALPINDI: The district administration has asked the city police officer (CPO) to appoint an officer, not below the rank of an SP, for launching awareness campaigns on hazards of tobacco use and training of trainers in police stations.

The district administration has established a Tobacco Control Cell (TCC) at the deputy commissioner office to make Rawalpindi a tobacco smoke free city through awareness campaigns and enforcement of the tobacco control laws.

The cell was established on the request of the Ministry of National Health Services to implement Nonsmokers’ Health Ordinance 2002.

Recently, violations of tobacco control laws have been observed at public places, district departments, public service vehicles, food outlets besides sale of loose cigarettes, packets with no pictorial health warnings and sale of tobacco without licences.

Proper legislation and its effective implementation through relevant stakeholders are imperative for tobacco control.

Currently, the Punjab Tobacco Vendor Act 1958, Cigarette Printing of Warning Ordinance 1979 and Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Nonsmoker’s Healthy Ordinance 2002 are in force in the province.

However, the implementation of the laws was carried out gradually in the past.

In Pakistan, tobacco kills 160,000 people every year which is 438 deaths per day. The global tobacco epidemic kills nearly six million people of which over 600,000 are nonsmokers dying from breathing secondhand smoke.

More than 80 per cent of these preventable deaths will be among people living in low and middle income countries.

Pakistan is one of the signatories to World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and tobacco control efforts as a part of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

WHO branded the damages of tobacco on lung health with the message of “Don’t let tobacco, take your breath away” for the current year.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2020