Law banning smoking in public places okayed
Prepared by the Ministry of Public Health, the 25-article draft law, proscribing the use of cigarette, snuff and hubble-bubble (hookah) was presented by the government to the assembly a month ago.
The law, which controls taxes on tobacco, was placed before the lower house by the assembly’s commission on health for approval.
Mujibur Rahman Chamkani, the commission deputy head, said the law banned smoking in public places and violators would be fined 300 afghanis under the measure.
He said the law also banned advertisements of tobacco products and increased duty on their imports by 50 percent. The Ministry of Finance has imposed a 14 percent tax on tobacco imports.
Chamkani said the law was aimed at creating awareness about the hazards of tobacco cultivation and reducing the number of people, including women and children, addicted to it.
The exact number of individuals smoking cigirates and hookah is not known, but they are in great numbers.
Chamkani said the parliamentary panels had discussed the law and there had been no controversial article.
However, house members held different views about the measure. Obaidullah Ramin, a lawmaker from Baghlan province, suggested 100 percent increase in tax on tobacco imports in a bid to discourage its smoking.
“Smoking is prohibited in Islam and if we approve the law, we are going to legalize it, this is against Islam.”
But Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said the house commissions had discussed the law in the presence of religious scholars. “All are Muslims in this house and I am sure they will raise cards with a sense of responsibility.”
At the end, of 127 MPs present, 102 raised green cards to approve the law.
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