LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday directed the provincial chief secretary to enforce a ban on smoking and issue notices to institutions that were not adhering to directives regarding the ban.
Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi passed instructions to ban smoking in public offices and education institutions after hearing a petition seeking strict implementation of anti-smoking laws. The director general of social welfare was also summoned.
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Counsel for the petitioner, Azhar Siddique, said laws barring smoking in public offices and educational institutions were not being implemented.
He raised the issue of second-hand smoke consumed by innocent bystanders and added that smoking in workplaces leads health issues. He also prayed the court to ensure implementation of the ban.
Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar informed the Senate in April that Pakistan was ranked 54th amongst 84 countries with high prevalence of tobacco smoking.
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Speaking during the question-hour session, the minister had said almost 24 million (19.1%) adults currently used tobacco in any form in Pakistan.
Moreover, 5,000 Pakistanis were admitted to hospitals every day because of diseases caused by tobacco use, according to Pakistan Health Education Survey, 1999, she said.
She said in Pakistan, tobacco is a cause of death of around 160,000 people every year. Moreover, the economic cost of smoking amounted to Rs143.208 billion.