16 June, 2015
ISLAMABAD: I want to draw the attention of the authorities to the fact that in many public places such as parks, buses, trains and even educational institutions and hospitals, people are seen smoking cigarettes without any awareness that their habit is negatively impacting others, let alone causing harm to themselves. Unfortunately, Pakistan is among the few countries that lag behind the rest of the world in the implementation of smoking bans at public places. Scientific research has confirmed that exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS) can cause lung cancer, heart attack, asthma and pneumonia, as well as several other diseases.
Sadly, our hotels and restaurants openly flout the smoking bans on their premises. International fast food chains, which have completely smoke-free outlets in the rest of the world, allow smoking inside their restaurants in Pakistan. Our buses and other public transport are also full of tobacco smoke, endangering people’s health.
To protect non-smokers from SHS, a law was passed in 2002 in which smoking was declared illegal at all indoor public places, including hotels and restaurants. A fine of Rs1,000 to Rs100, 000 was suggested for those who violate this law.
I urge the Ministry of Health to take urgent measures in order to protect the public from the serious health risks associated with exposure to SHS in Pakistan.