The University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) and Ministry of National Health Regulations and Coordination (MoNHSRC) under the ‘Tobacco Smoke Free Cities Project’ inked a letter of intent for initiating collaborative efforts to control, regulate and discourage smoking. The letter was signed by UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Zafar Iqbal Randhawa and Project Director/ Deputy Director Health Dr Minhaj-us-Siraj. Mayor Abdul Razaq, Chief Traffic Officer Ali Raza, UAF Director Student Affairs Dr Shahbaz Talib Sahi and UAF Director External Linkages Dr Rashid Ahmad and other notables also attended the meeting. UAF Vice Chancellor said UAF would help and persuade farmers of tobacco cultivation crops to introduce high-profit alternative crops to discourage tobacco cultivation and to raise their income as well. He added the varsity was strictly implementing smoke sale prohibitions measures to discourage smoking within the university campus and a fine of Rs 2000 fine was imposed on violation.
He said tobacco use was an important factor for the development of coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease and was also the cause of death of around 160,100 persons every year. Randhawa said teachers, opinion leaders and religious leaders needed to play their role to minimize this menace in the campus.
Mayor Abdul Razzaq said there was a dire need to discourage the escalating smoking trend in the society which had taken roots. He said effective policy measures would help to address the issue, saving the lives of people who lost their lives due to smoking.
Dr Minhaj-us-Siraj said the objective of this project was to strengthen tobacco control efforts through establishing coordination among district departments in order to plan, implement and monitor model city project. He said the ultimate goal of this initiative was to meet the World Health Organisation regulation “to contribute to protecting present and future generations not only from the devastating health consequences due to tobacco, but also from the social, environmental and economic scourges of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke,” he added.
Chief Traffic Police Ali Raza said collaborated efforts and awareness would help to address the issue at the national level.