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November 14, 2019

Rawalpindi, Lahore to also have Tobacco Control Cells


November 14, 2019

Islamabad : Both Rawalpindi as well as Lahore have notified the establishment of Tobacco Control Cells to expedite implementation of the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers’ Health Ordinance 2002 and articles of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

This grass-roots level approach will help sustain tobacco control at the national level with local help and less reliance on donors. To bring viability to the efforts and to protect future generations from diseases like cancers and other ill effects of tobacco use, the district governments have been requested by the Ministry of National Health to establish local Tobacco Control Cells, with the Respective Deputy Commissioners as their heads and including representatives of the local government along with senior officers of Ministry of National Health.

The Ministry of Health’s Deputy Director General Health is also heading tobacco control and is providing technical assistance to local tobacco control authorities or achieving and maintaining best practices in tobacco control and smoke-free public places and public transport.

‘Tobacco Smoke-free Cities,’ a project of Ministry of Health has been ranked by WHO as one of the six best practices for tobacco control in the world, during the current year. The project team is replicating the ‘Islamabad Smoke-free City model’ in five selected districts of Punjab i.e., Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi. It started with identifying stakeholders, selecting master trainers, holding training workshops and awareness sessions with all departments of district governments including Health, Education, Private Schools’ Regulators, Auqaf, Horticulture, Food authorities, local governments, Excise and Taxation, Police, Traffic Police, Road Transport Authorities, Chamber of Commerce, Development, F&P and Civil Society Organisations, spread over two and a half years in each district.

The project has provided technical support to Civil Society Organisations in Gilgit-Baltistan, where extensive campaigns and awareness has helped all four divisions of Gilgit to adopt Smoke-free policies, duly approved by the Chief Minister of GB, last month. The initiative will soon start in the South of Pakistan, including Karachi, where a baseline survey is already being conducted.

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