Underage smoking

Published February 4, 2022

ONE of the major problems ailing the country is underage smoking, which is ruining the future of our youth and can also have long-term adverse effects for the country. Teenagers have taken up this bad habit in droves without bothering about its side effects. One can see children as young as 10 years smoking. This happens for various reasons, like parental smoking, peer pressure, and the desire to look ‘cool’.

Meanwhile, the policymakers have done little or nothing when it comes to beating the menace of smoking. The policies they have formed in this regard border on the absurd. Do they really think that inscribing the magical words of ‘smoking kills’ on cigarette packs would convince people to stop smoking?

Instead, the government should introduce reforms to hold those selling paan and cigarettes responsible and make them keep a register to note the details of every purchaser of tobacco products, such as the name, identity card number, and mobile numbers. CCTV cameras should be installed at most shops in this regard.

The local law enforcement agency or some official from the taxation department could view the register to flag any purchase by an underage buyer.

Besides, the advertising of tobacco products by actors, celebrities and social media influencers should be banned as they glorify an established health hazard.

Abdul Rehman Nawaz Bajwa
Lahore

Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2022

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