ISLAMABAD - All mega public events in the capital will be smoke-free from June 1 (today).
Capital Administration & Development Division (CADD) announced this on World No-Tobacco Day on Saturday. All the public gatherings of over 100 people, including galas, funfairs and other events, will be smoke free, said Dr Minhaj-us-Siraj, project director of Tobacco Smoke Free Islamabad.
He said according to the existing laws, the violators can be fined up to Rs 5000 for the first time that can go up to Rs 100,000 in case of repeated violations and the implementing authorities can arrest people for three months for breaching the law. "The Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-smokers' Health Ordinance 2002 along with provisions of "Framework Convention for Tobacco Control" (FCTC) by World Health organisation signed by Pakistan in 2004 bind us legally to make efforts for control of manufacture, sale and use of tobacco products in the country," he said, adding that the need remains for more stringent laws.
Strengthening Tobacco Smoke Free Islamabad initiative, a project of CADD, was launched in March 2014 with donor-funding. 'Smoke free cities' is a recognised strategy to fight "big tobacco" throughout the world. It entails awareness of masses and intense responsiveness towards "hazards of tobacco use" and "provisions of anti-smoking laws."
"Being at the first stage, we have been holding awareness raising sessions with youngsters at markets, schools and colleges and with law enforcement officials too. And in the next phase the enforcement will be ensured with force," he said.
Sharing key findings of a survey regarding current implementation status of the law within Islamabad, he said the implementation rate remains around only 25 per cent and the results of the survey are very far from pleasing.
Data depicted in the study was collected from major markets of Islamabad. Around 1250 different public palaces were visited in these markets to monitor the implementation of various sections of 'Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-smokers' health ordinance 2002'. Implementation of each section of the ordinance is monitored through different indicators related to that section.
The study found violations of smoking related laws at around 74 per cent at public places even the staff members of various organisations at public places violate the law that is 52 per cent.
In public service vehicles 69 per cent people including drivers and conductors violate the law. Seventy-five per cent violations of advertisements guidelines were found by retailers, wholesalers and tobacco industry.
It says the sales of cigarettes to minors taking place with 73 percentage which is alarming and smuggled cigarettes are present in markets. Violations of cigarette sales outlet(s) within 50 meter of educational institution were 82 per cent, which is also alarming. Violations of placement of "Smoking is an Offence" boards were found 72 per cent.