Peshawar University students oppose ban on smoking
PESHAWAR, May 31(Daily Times): Most students oppose the decision taken recently
by the Peshawar University administration to ban smoking on campus, a survey revealed.
Students, requesting anonymity, said that the university administration should solve other problems being faced by
students, including providing students with more facilities at hostels and
reducing hostel charges.
Imran and Abbas, BSc students at the Computer
Science Department, said they were dissatisfied with the decision, adding, "If
the university management bans the sale of cigarettes on campus, we will buy
them from shops in the University Town (an area located near the university). We
usually buy four to six cigarettes from shops on campus, but in case of a ban we
may begin purchasing whole packets. We will go out to buy cigarettes even at
Sumaira and Nadia from the Environmental Science Department
said the administration should also ban the sale of cigarettes in the University
Town area. "It is a good decision, as cigarettes are injurious to health."
Journalism and Mass Communication Department student Saqib said nobody could
stop him from smoking, adding, "I smoke proudly and it is my
Another student said, " This is not the way to ban smoking,"
adding that the administration should first launch an awareness campaign to
inform people about the harmful affects of smoking. Some students appreciated
the proposed ban on smoking and said most students would quit smoking if the
campus shops stopped selling cigarettes.
"I appreciate the
administration's decision, but we should think about the factors responsible for
the rising trend of smoking. The government should ban tobacco companies and
their colourful advertisements which depict smokers as heroes, thus promoting
smoking," said an English Department lecturer requested anonymity.
shopkeeper on campus said, "The university administration's decision
will adversely affect our business, as we sell an average of 5,000 cigarettes a
month." In the beginning of 2007, non-government organisation Abaseen
Foundation, in collaboration with the Pulmonology Department of the Khyber
Teaching Hospital (KTH) and Peshawar University's Psychology Department,
conducted a survey regarding smoking on campus.
lecturer Dr Erum Irshad, who was a co-investigator in the survey, said, "The survey found that 25 percent of the university students were smokers
and that the ratio of female smokers was comparatively low." She said one-fourth
of the students were smokers. "Of the 1,198 students aged 21– 964 were boys and
166 girls – found that 236 boys and one girl student were smokers. According to
the survey, 5,000 students out of the total 20,000 on campus, were
In a similar survey conducted by these organisations in 2003 at
the Peshawar University, 34 percent students were found to be smokers. In the
2003 survey, the ratio of girl students was 5 percent which dropped to 0.6
percent in the 2007 survey. According to Erum Irshad, most students told the
survey team that they had started smoking in their late teens, which the experts
say is a crucial period in students' lives, usually studying at
"Parents can prevent their children from adopting bad habits
during their teens," stated KTH Associate Prof Dr Mukhtiar Zaman Afridi, who was
the 2007 survey's principal investigator.
However, it remains to be seen
whether or not the university administration succeeds in banning smoking on
campus, as the government had earlier also announced a similar ban on smoking in
public transport and places, but people have been defying the
Journalism and Mass Communication Department lecturer Gul Wahab said, "The university administration's announcement is a campaign that
will definitely have positive results."