KP’s failure in tobacco control

Asif Khan Turk

Like the other provinces of Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has also failed in tobacco control, particularly cigarette smoking, while no government has taken any positive, firm, and sustainable step in this regard to protect the precious lives of non-smokers from the dangerous effects of smoking in the province.

Although, the federal government made a law through a presidential ordinance in 2002, titled “The Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance, 2002” which was a good step at that time, as it prohibits the use of tobacco at all public places, such as educational institutions, healthcare centers, restaurants, playgrounds, and recreational centers. Similarly, the Ordinance also prohibits advertisements of tobacco products, sales to minors, and sale or distribution of cigarettes near educational institutions.

However, almost all the provinces, especially KP could not implement this law, and even after 18th Amendment in 2010, the KP government even did not make a law like the above mentioned ordinance. In this regard, the provincial government under PTI era drafted a bill to stop the use of tobacco at public places but unfortunately, due to the vested interests of a few law makers the bill could not be made a law, and as a result, now smokers are not only harming their own health but also endangering the precious lives of non-smokers in their surroundings.

It was August 2016, when the provincial government drafted a bill and presented in KP Assembly, however, Speaker Asad Qaiser deliberately ignored it, even though it was on the agenda of the assembly business. According to sources, the main reason of this act was to protect his fellow lawmakers, including the provincial health minister Shahram Khan Tarakai who had tobacco business and if the law would have been made, it would definitely affect their businesses.

As far as the details of the designed bill are concerned, it was actually drafted to ban smoking at public places and vehicles. Another objective was also to ban cigarette advertisement at all public areas. As per the bill, the sale of tobacco to people below the age of 18 and the sale of tobacco within a 100-meter radius of an educational institute or healthcare center is also prohibited.

Similarly, the bill also says that the administrations of such areas are bound to display boards, saying ‘No Smoking Zone’ and ensure that no one uses tobacco over there. The bill further says that anyone who uses tobacco at public places or public vehicles, shall be fined Rs1,000. If the offence is repeated, the fine shall extend to Rs10,000. As per the bill, there shall be no designated areas for tobacco users at any public place.

It was a very good effort to safeguard the precious human lives from the dangerous effects of smoking, however, it went in vain as discussed above, that’s why today there is a great need for such a law or a policy to control the use of tobacco at all public places on priority basis.

Therefore, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government and its concerned departments and offices should take immediate notice of the vulnerable situation of tobacco use in the province, and devise an effective and sustainable strategy by taking action against the law violators to protect the human health. Last but not the least, media as well as civil society should also play their due role by educating the public to achieve the goal of a healthy and prosperous society.

The writer is a Peshawar-based journalist, author, and the Editor of Sunrise Today. He can be contacted at: He also shares insights on Twitter @TheAsifKhanTurk.

Related Posts


There are 0 comments for this article

Leave a Reply