KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday issued notice to the provincial and federal authorities to submit their respective replies to the petition calling for effective enforcement of the anti-smoking laws.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Maqbool Baqar was hearing a petition of Prof Javaid Khan, a consultant pulmonologist at Aga Khan University, who had earlier addressed a letter to the SHC Chief Justice, requesting him to take notice of blatant violation of the anti-smoking laws. SHC Chief Justice had converted his letter into the constitutional petition.
The petitioner, Prof Javaid had submitted that tobacco use was single largest preventable cause of the diseases, disability, and death in the country. According to estimates, tobacco use causes about 100000 deaths every year in this country.
He stated that tobacco caused more deaths than suicides, bomb blasts, road traffic accidents, honor killings and drugs abuse deaths collectively.
Prof Javaid said the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non Smoker Health Law was passed by federal cabinet in 2002. The law stipulates that smoking was prohibited at all public places, including hotels, restaurants, cafes and restrictions were placed on the tobacco advertising as well as on the sale of tobacco to minors. Besides, a resolution against smoking shisha at restaurants and public places was also passed by the Sindh Assembly in 2011.
Despite claims by the authorities in the media about control of the shisha and smoking, the law has yet to be translated into action as hundreds of the restaurants continue to propagate this heinous addiction, destroying the health of youth, he added.
Prof Javaid told the judges that in the countries where anti-tobacco laws were properly enforced, the smoking had declined significantly and so the diseases attributed to active and passive smoking.
Unfortunately, not much effort was made for implementation of anti-tobacco laws in this country, he lamented adding he was appalled by the blatant violations of the law at many reputable hotels and restaurants including fast food pizza chain.
Recently CAA has opened a new smoking zone at the Jinnah International Airport Karachi, violating the country’s laws. Trend of smoking within the universities was also rising due to the indifference attitude of universities’ vice chancellors towards the menace.
He said this fact was further underpinned by a research undertaken by the university students, which showed that 50 percent populace at restaurants and universities were accustomed to smoking shisha.
Therefore, he pleaded to the court take notice of awful situation and direct authorities concerned to take appropriate steps for implementation of the anti-smoking laws.
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