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All public social events in Islamabad must now be smokefree, after city authorities imposed new rules for organisers.

A written commitment to create and maintain a smokefree environment is now part of the application procedure organisers must complete before district administrators can give the go-ahead for an event.

This new directive was launched at the Smokefree Capital City committee's first meeting on April 3, and was announced by its chairperson Maryum Khan, who is also Islamabad's deputy commissioner general. The city's first smokefree event was held just two days later - a family gala organised by traffic police and attended by approximately 12,000 people. All 120 stalls displayed information on tobacco control laws.

The Smokefree Capital City initiative is run by the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development, the World Health Organisation and The Union. Its goal is to protect citizens from tobacco smoke by ensuring that national tobacco control laws are well implemented and enforced.

The project's director, Dr Minhaj-us-Siraj said its aim was to prevent both the physical and financial damage caused by tobacco smoking. He said suffering was compounded by the fact that many smokers' earning powers are diminished through illness and early death, often leaving their families in poverty.

Khalid Mahmood Chaudhry, vice president of Islamabad's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, tendered his organisation's full support for the Smokefree Capital City initiative.

 

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