Every year May 31 is observed as the ‘World No Tobacco Day’ with a view to create awareness among the public against the hazards of tobacco smoking. Apart from adults, schoolchildren have also taken to the menace of smoking. In my opinion, besides the children’s family and the school administration, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has to be held responsible for this as it has failed to ensure strict implementation of the anti-smoking laws .
Despite the fact that the sale of cigarettes to those under 18 years is prohibited by the law, shopkeepers – some near the schools – continue to defy the rules and openly sell cigarettes to under-age youths. Keeping the health hazards of smoking in view, a number of countries, including Nepal, Thailand, Singapore and India have adopted stringent anti-smoking laws and taken solid steps to curb the tendency of smoking in their countries. We also have the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance 2002 but it lacks strict implementation. Smoking in offices, public transport and public places goes on with flagrant disregard to the health of non-smokers. To assist the implementation of the law, a specific mobile number on which all violations of the anti-smoking laws could be reported can be initiated.
Group Captain (r) Saeed Nawaz Khan