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May 19, 2019

Call for declaring railway stations, trains tobacco-free zones


May 19, 2019

Demanding of the Pakistan Railway authorities to declare train compartments and railway stations ‘tobacco, paan, Chhalia and Gutka free’, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) on Saturday urged Federal Railways Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed to implement the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers’ Health Ordinance 2002 in letter and spirit in the jurisdiction of the Pakistan Railways.

“Although there is a ban on sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at the railway stations, unfortunately smokers are violating the law.

“They not only smoke at the railway stations but also inside the train compartments, causing serious harm to the health of others,” said Dr Qaiser Sajjad, the PMA secretary general.

The PMA secretary general maintained that people similarly continued chewing and spitting tobacco in the forms of paan and Gutka at the railway stations, which was also not only a harmful practice for public health but also disfigured the Pakistan Railways’ properties.

“The PMA is running campaigns for banning tobacco, Chhalia (betel nut) and other forms of chewing tobacco

in Pakistan as they are cancer-causing substances,” he said.

Dr Sajjad explained that it was now clinically proved that betel nuts were carcinogenic and when they were mixed with tobacco, it became more hazardous. Every year, 166,000 people in Pakistan die due to the use of tobacco in smoking and other forms, he said.

“It is commonly seen that people are not only smoking openly at the railway stations and inside train compartments but also many Gukta, paan eaters are spitting everywhere, putting everybody’s health in danger,” the PMA official said and urged the railways minister to take cognisance of the situation and declare railway stations and trains as tobacco-free zones.

Dr Qaiser Sajjad said Ramazan provides an excellent opportunity to tobacco users, smokers and those who eat paan, Gutka, Chalia and Naswar to get rid of this unhealthy practice. He urged people to take advantage of the opportunity and free themselves from the addiction.

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