ISLAMABAD-The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration has disbursed over 32,000 pamphlets across the city, aimed at creating awareness against tobacco use among the masses during ongoing year.

The brochures were distributed during road-shows regarding drug abuse held at F-10 Markaz, G-9 Markaz, Kashmir Highway and G-11 traffic signals, Additional Deputy Commissioner Dr Asif Raheem, also in-charge of Tobacco Control Cell (ICT), told APP on Tuesday

The ICT teams in coordination with Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad and Capital Development Authority had displayed public awareness messages on tobacco through sign boards and polls to make federal capital tobacco-free.

With a special focus on youth, the local administration had approached public and private sector educational institutes and sensitised the students about the harmful effects of drugs, he added.

To promote smoke-free environments at public places in the federal capital, Raheem said, Pakistan Monument and the Lok Virsa Complex had already been declared ‘Tobacco Smoke-Free Zones.’

To a query, he said, on the request of ICT Auqaf department, the scholars were highlighting the health hazards of illegal substance abuse in their Friday sermons.

Meanwhile, social activists and health expert urged the government to develop legal framework and implement standardised plain packaging as effective tobacco control measure to reduce the attractiveness and appeal of tobacco products to consumers.

Babar Saleem, a social activist said the tobacco industry had become very powerful and only interested in maximising their profit while playing with the lives of our young generation.

Due to political influence, they were successful in delaying cases in courts at domestic and international level, he claimed.

“All segment of the society will have to fight together to help save the lives of our future generation from this menace and should strive for tobacco free generation,” he added.

Dr Akhtar, a cardiologist at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences said that every year in Pakistan, 160,100 people were killed due to use of tobacco products while over 24 million users continued to use tobacco products, smoking over 85 billion sticks every year.

“To reduce and control use of tobacco products, standardised plain packaging is an effective demand reduction measure that can reduce the attractiveness of tobacco products, limits misleading packaging and labelling, and increases the effectiveness of health warnings,” he suggested.

Akhtar said the world has moved towards plain packaging, whereas, in Pakistan, plain packaging is not yet on our cards, which should be considered as way forward.