KP govt’s interim ban on e-cigar hailed

The Provincial Alliance for Tobacco and Nicotine Control Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (PATNC KP) and Blue Veins have conveyed their sincere gratitude to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government for enforcing a 60-day temporary prohibition on the sale, use, and storage of e-cigarettes in the province under Section 144.

According to the Home and Tribal Affairs Department’s notification, all Deputy Commissioners in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been instructed to implement a complete ban on the sale of e-cigarettes and vapes to anyone under the age of 21, as well as on the sale and storage of these products within a 50-meter radius of any educational institution in the province.

Violators of these directives should suffer legal consequences under Section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

This firm move comes after several discussions between the Provincial Alliance for Sustainable Tobacco Control, Blue Veins, and KPTCC and important individuals including Governor Haji Ghulam Ali of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Chief Secretary KP, Special Secretary for Home and Tribal Affairs KP, and others.

These discussions centred on the risks associated with vaping and e-cigarettes, as well as international laws and regulations governing the sale and storage of these devices.

Civil society organisations applaud the Governor and Chief Secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for their proactive approach in response to the World Health Organization’s call for action and in the interest of public health. This ban is a critical step in protecting citizens from the harmful effects of vapes and e-cigarettes, which include respiratory issues, nicotine addiction, and potential long-term health risks.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the dangers of more recent nicotine and tobacco products have gained pace and gained media attention, which has highlighted the necessity of legal and policy change at the local, state, and federal levels. As of right now, there is no legal or policy framework in place to control the sale of vapes and electronic cigarettes. 

“This interim ban is a commendable step by the KP Government, reflecting its proactive approach to public health,” said Qamar Naseem, a civil society activist and a leading proponent of tobacco and nicotine control in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “However, we must solidify this progress through comprehensive provincial legislation to ensure a permanent solution to this growing health concern.”

“This ban is a significant victory for the health and well-being of our children and youth. It prevents easy access to addictive substances and protects our future generations from the allure of harmful vaping products,” said Sana Ahmad, Coordinator of the Child Rights Movement (CRM)KP, in her expression of gratitude.

The Provincial Doctors Association President, Dr. Qazi Shahbaz, praised the efforts as well, saying, “As healthcare practitioners, we are grateful to the Governor and Chief Secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for this firm prohibition. It’s a positive start, and we now want the government to pass comprehensive legislation that outlaws it completely. This is a significant victory for public health as well as a clear statement of the critical importance of our citizens’ health and safety, particularly that of our young people. 

 The government’s and several groups’ combined efforts to address the risks associated with vaping and e-cigarettes represent a major turning point in the campaign for public health. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s dedication to prioritizing the health and safety of its residents, adhering to international health standards, and effectively addressing new health hazards is demonstrated by this temporary ban.