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Smoking in educational institutions: Higher Education Commission to launch anti-

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Smoking in educational institutions: Higher Education Commission to launch anti-smoking campaign

Lahore: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) in collaboration with the Health Department will launch a campaign against smoking in educational institutions of the Punjab from Monday.

HEC Director General (Learning Innovation) Noor Amina said, "We will start the campaign from private institutions of Lahore, as students of these institutions are more prone to smoking. We will also hold seminars to educate students about the demerits of smoking. The universities will be asked to implement the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non Smokers Health Ordinance 2002, declaring all educational institutions non-smoking zones."

It is found that smoking had become a fashion among university students and it was next to impossible for the administrations of the institutions to curb smoking on their campuses.

She said the HEC would conduct lectures in educational institutions. In the first phase, she said, the HEC would hold lectures in 16 public and private universities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. She said, "We will involve student unions and university administrations in making the campaign a success."

Another HEC official said the campaign was meant to educating teachers, students and administrations of private and public universities across Pakistan about the hazards of smoking. He said lectures would be conducted in the National College of Arts (NCA), Beaconhouse National University (BNU), Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Fast-National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences (Fast-NUCES), Government College University (GCU), Kinnaird College (KC), Forman Christian College University (FCCU), Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) and the Punjab University (PU).

Abrar Tauheed, a PU student, said, "Smoking has become a fashion and a large number of students start smoking when they are admitted to colleges and universities."

Saleem Khan, an FCCU student, said the college administration had banned smoking on campus, but students kept on smoking.

Another FCCU student said, "I am a chain smoker and it has become part of my life. Without smoking – I cannot concentrate on my studies."

A PU teacher said not only students, but also teachers were in the habit of smoking. He said, "Teachers should not smoke in front of their students. The campaign will help students quit smoking." Sadaf Siddique, an LCWU student, said, "Not only male students, but females ones are also into smoking."

An Education Department official said no strict actions had been taken against smokers so far. He said, "Most female smokers belong to private universities. It does not bother their teachers."

 Daily Times