Implement anti-smoking laws

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Abid Saeed

According to news stories, sale of illegal cigarettes is on the rise and more than 1 billion cigarettes are added annually, which is quite alarming as it is causing huge losses to national kitty. Everybody knows that smoking cigarettes id injurious and hazardous for health which should be curbed by all means with state power. There are a number of anti smoking laws, and restrictions on smoking at public places in the larger interest of the public health.
But with a view to regulating the Cigarette manufacturing industry, and to gradually shift from this unhealthy trend to more useful products, certain laws are there. Even if these laws are implemented in their true letter and spirit the menace will be curtailed and the industry will also make a convenient shift. The illegal trade and smuggling of cigarettes is playing an unwarranted havoc. Our lawmakers are trying to bring more and more laws rather focusing on implementation of laws. As per news reports there are more than 25 laws to curb illegal trade of cigarettes but due to lack of implementation, the national exchequer is facing loss of billions. I personally believe that if authorities focus on implementation of existing laws then the mission of tobacco control can be achieved in much better way.
There are many segments of society that might be affected by these laws. Farmers need to be sensitised to gradually go for alternative and crop substitution to avoid an immediate shock, as instant decrease in the selling might affect their economic gains. New law in KP and draft bill in senate and regarding tobacco control are welcome but should not only be a publicity stunt. I would request legislators and other relevant authorities to control illicit trade of cigarettes so that laws regarding tobacco control and precautionary measures can give better results.
—Islamabad