RAWALPINDI: To make Rawalpindi a smoking-free city, the district administration on Tuesday asked all civic bodies and the provincial departments to prepare plans within two weeks to enforce strict rules in public places.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the District Tobacco Control Cell with Deputy Commissioner Shoaib Ali in the chair. Representatives from all district departments participated in the meeting.

The deputy commissioner said smoking in public places, hotels and restaurants and in public vehicles was a legal offence against which the police should take immediate action.

He said the traffic police and the transport authority should ensure that public vehicles and buses were smoke-free. He said the District Education Authority and the director colleges should provide data on shops located within 50 metres from educational institutions to the deputy commissioner office and organise speech and essay competition to highlight creativity among children against tobacco use.

Civic bodies told to prepare plans in two weeks to enforce rules

He asked the police to crack down on all those selling tobacco products near educational institutions and open sale of cigarettes and tobacco in shops.

He scope of the ongoing efforts will be extended from the district to the division level. Complaints on smoke-free Pakistan mobile application should be made compulsory to avoid smoking violations.

Officials informed the meeting that Parks and Horticulture Authority and the Social Welfare and Excise Department would work on priority basis in the anti-tobacco campaign.

They said smoking quitting clinics will be inaugurated at the District Headquarter (DHQ) Hospital and Holy Family Hospital this month. Moreover, the deputy commissioner complex will be made smoking free.

Aftab Ahmed, the representative of the Ministry of National Health Services, briefed the meeting about the efforts made so far.

He appreciated the ongoing efforts of the Rawalpindi administration to make the district smoke free.

He said that more than 160,000 people in Pakistan die due to smoking every year and 1,200 children between the age of five and 15 years started smoking regularly. He said the federal government would not only block the way of newcomers but would also help smokers quit the habit, he added.

He said that the ministry along with the Rawalpindi district administration was continuing its efforts to eradicate smoking and create a smoke-free city.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2022

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