ABBOTABAD: Abbottabad Deputy Commissioner Ammara Aamir Khattak has urged the Tobacco Control Cell (TCC) to prepare a strategy to effectively implement tobacco control laws in the district within the next two months.
She was speaking at a briefing held at her office on Wednesday to discuss progress made by TCC since it was established in 2009. The event was attended by officials of health and education departments, police and the media.
“A lenient approach will no longer be tolerated on imposing a ban on shisha cafes,” she said. “Measures must be taken to ensure tobacco control in the city.”
Khattak announced the DC’s office will be made a “tobacco-free zone” and a complaint cell will be established across the district. Through this initiative, the public will be able to register complaints against cafes where shisha is being offered on the menu.
In addition, the complaint cell will allow people to report any instances of people smoking in public spaces where tobacco consumption is prohibited.
Say no to tobacco
According to the DC, social activists, local government representatives and governments must join hands to raise awareness about the risks involved in tobacco consumption.
“Banners should be put up in public spaces to raise awareness,” she said. “Walks, rallies and seminars should also be held and representatives from the education and health department should be involved in these initiatives.”
Mechanisms of control
Speaking on the occasion, Asad Khan Jadoon, district coordinator of TCC, told participants the administration has sealed 50 shisha cafes in Abbottabad over the past few months.
“We have taken the owners to court and won cases against three of them,” he said. He added TCC has arranged seminars, workshops, rallies and walks in collaboration with various educational institutes to ensure tobacco control.
In November 2015, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had ordered all provincial governments to launch a crackdown against shisha cafes. In its order, the apex court said a number of cafes were also selling drugs, but provincial administrations were unwilling to take action against them.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2016.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ