Sparc holds awareness session on “Tobacco Control Law”

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KARACHI (PR): Awareness session on “Tobacco Control Law” was organized by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) here at a local.

The event was part of the organization’s campaign `Let`s Make Karachi Smoke Free`.

The session organized in coordination with DIMC discussed the tobacco control law and its related SROs in detail. The general misconceptions such as definition of Public Places, Smoking Areas in premises of Public Places, Sale of Loose Cigarettes, Marketing and Display of Tobacco Products were discussed. The harms of second-hand and third-hand smoking, and tobacco in other forms such as Sheesha, were also shared in detail. The participants belonging to different government departments were also informed about the responsibilities which befall them to ensure compliance of the law at public places.

Due to lack of implementation of the law tobacco brands are being sold near schools and school playgrounds. Sale of cigarettes via single sticks have made tobacco products cheap and accessible to children and youth around schools. Display of tobacco products at point-of-sale in appealing ways is also increasing the number of new smokers.

Deputy Commissioner South Karachi Mr. Irshad Ali Sodhar says Pakistan became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in February 2005. Pakistan has a federal law on Tobacco Control: Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Ordinance no. LXXIV of 2002. The law bans smoking at public places and public service vehicles. It also bans sale of tobacco products to children and in the vicinity of educational institutions. The law also restricts Tobacco Advertisement, Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS).

Mr. Anees Jillani Founder SPARC says at the occasion. Every day, approximately 1200 children start smoking in Pakistan. There are over 23.9 million tobacco users in Pakistan, out of which 125000 are dying every year because of tobacco inducted diseases. (Sustainable Development Policy Institute, 2018-19).

Mr. Iqbal Detho Legal Expert putting in-depth light on the law i.e Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Ordinance no. LXXIV of 2002. Says The law is protecting the non smoker health and restrict the smoker.

Kashif Mirza Project Manager SPARC says, We took up this challenge and lobbied with Chief Minister Office, Chief Secretary Office, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and District Administration. As a result, KMC and several government departments have aappointed focal persons from to undertake this issue in their respective domains. Furthermore, Tobacco Control Cell in District South has been reactivated and Implementation Monitoring and Committee (DIMC) has been established in District South.

Ms. Shumaila Vistro Child Rights Activist said smoking habits of youngsters; growing habits of smoking in younger is the initial step to get attracted for drugs. He highlighted the crucial role of anti-smoking campaign reducing the health risks in schools and colleges.

Prof. Dr. Farah Iqbal, the Chairperson of Psychology Department at the University of Karachi, said that cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals – over 50 of which are known to be toxic in nature. Carbon monoxide also found in car exhaust fumes, butane found in lighter fluid, and arsenic, ammonia, and methanol found in rocket fuel, for example.

Mr. Zulfiqar Khuskh Additional Deputy Commissioner I South, Mr. Faheem Memon, Additional Deputy Commissioner South and Chairman of DIMC South; were the notable speak at the session.

The session organized in coordination with DIMC District Administration South Karachi, and participated to different government departments, private sector, civil society and media representative participated.