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November 10, 2018

Mobile App launched for reporting violations of tobacco control laws


November 10, 2018

Islamabad: An innovative mobile-based application ‘ABP Violator Detector,’ which will help report violations of tobacco control laws, was launched here Friday.

“The application will prove helpful in implementation of tobacco control laws in Pakistan and will result in improved healthcare status with reduced tobacco use,” Project Director of Tobacco Smoke-Free Capital Dr. Minhaj us Siraj stated at the launching. The application has been developed by the Association for Better Pakistan (ABP).

In 2002, Pakistan promulgated the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance which restricts tobacco use at public places and public service vehicles, restricts advertisement of tobacco products, prohibits sale of cigarettes to minors, and storage, sale and distribution of cigarettes in the immediate vicinity of educational institutions and makes it mandatory to display the no-smoking messages at public places, etc.

Although there is law to protect the health of non-smokers ,yet the reporting mechanism to report any violation of this law is very lengthy and general public is usually unaware of it. The application will enable the general public to reporting violations of the las.

Speaking on the occasion, the Project Manager of ABP Shadman Aziz, apprised the participants of the main features of the application. “This user-friendly application will help the general public to report any violation of tobacco control laws, along with a photograph of the violation. Initially, this application is effective for Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) but will subsequently be proliferated to other areas of the country as well. Legal actions on the reported violations will be taken by Tobacco Smoke-Free Islamabad Project and ICT administration,” he stated.

Dr. Ziaul Islam, Technical Head/Director, Tobacco Control Cell, Ministry of National Health Services, shared that globally, there are just a few countries which have developed such an application. In Pakistan, this is the first-ever endeavor, he said, assuring full support for execution of this application. He suggested that the violation data be linked with the Tobacco Control Cell’s website.

Dr. Fouad Aslam, Technical Advisor Tobacco Control, The Union, also appreciated the efforts of ABP for development of the application as a preemptive step to effectively implement tobacco control laws. Muhammad Ashraf Shad, President ABP, Muhamad Javed, Project Manager Tobacco Control Cell, Aftab Ahmed, Project Manager Tobacco Smoke-Free Capital and Muhammad Faisal from FFO Pakistan also attended the ceremony.

Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of death in the world. Tobacco kills around 160,100 people every year in Pakistan. According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2014, 23.9 million Pakistani adult population uses tobacco in any form. In Pakistan, 86.7 billion cigarettes are consumed annually as a result of which Rs. 347 billion is smoked in air every year. The annual economic cost of smoking in the country is as high as Rs. 143.208 billion. Non-smokers can be protected from secondhand tobacco smoke through enforcement of tobacco control laws.

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