Banned puffs making mockery of law | Pakistan Today

Banned puffs making mockery of law

Pakistan signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on May 18, 2004.
The law imposes a ban on tobacco use in public buildings and transportation, limits tobacco advertising, prohibits tobacco sale within 50 metres from educational institutions, and requires “no smoking” signs displayed in public places.
But despite Pakistan being a signatory to this law, people are found smoking in restaurants, malls, educational institutions, hospitals, offices etc. Mujhtaba Hussain confesses that he smokes publicly very often. “I know it’s banned publicly but they haven’t given us any place to smoke so I don’t have an option to choose from,” he says.
Rules and norms are made every day here, but are never implemented. Lawmakers themselves do not follow them. Hussain laughed when he was asked if he has ever been fined for smoking in public places.
Smoking of sheesha was banned in public places in May 2011. Smoking sheesha is common among youngsters and they smoke for a variety of reasons. Some think it “looks cool” while others catch the habit from their family members or their friends. Girls aged between 12 and 16 are seen puffing sheesha in restaurants.
It is a misconception that sheesha does not have side effects, and the fact is that its smokers inhale up to 200 times more tobacco in a single session than a cigarette.
Ban on smoking is meant for non-smokers, who ultimately come in contact with smokers and become passive smokers. “I don’t smoke and often end up telling people around me not to smoke,” says Ali, a college student whose friends are chain smokers.
It is due to apathy of the authorities concerned that the ban has not been implemented. “I didn’t even know there is such a law in Pakistan,” says Fawad Shah.
Immediate effects upon smoking a cigarette stick include rise in a person’s blood pressure and pulse rate, the brain and the nervous system stimulating for a short time and then dizziness, nausea, watery eyes, loss of appetite. On long-term basis, smoking can cause a number of cancers (lungs, throat, mouth, bladder, kidney, pancreas, cervix, and stomach), heart attack, emphysema (is an illness that slowly rots your lungs) and stomach ulcers.

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