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Peshawar Uni smoking ban: Students call it 'cosmetic'

PESHAWAR, June 4(Daily Times): Shops inside the Peshawar University have stopped selling tobacco and smokers have to buy cigarettes from outside the campus.

Some angry students have scrawled graffiti over the notices displayed near shops by the university administration asking shopkeepers to stop selling cigarettes and naswar. A student doubted the success of move by writing, "This is your dream and you will not succeed." Another student has posed a question to the university administration, "Have you set up some prison where you are imposing this rule?" One ridicules the ban by saying, "There is no ban on charas," and another one writes, "Ban cigarettes, but sell charas."

In a survey, shopkeepers outside the campus said that their cigarettes sale had increased since the on campus ban on smoking had been imposed. Wali Jan, a shopkeeper outside the campus at the Dhobi Ghat Market, said that his sales of cigarettes had increased by Rs 1,000 to 2,000 after campus shopkeepers were banned from selling tobacco.

Aslam, another shopkeeper, said that he had recorded a slight increase in the sale of cigarettes and that it would take nearly two weeks to judge the impact of the ban. He also said that most students had gone to their homes on account of summer vacations.

Shopkeeper Haji Gul said his sales had increased by Rs 500 to 1,000 due to tobacco sales, adding that the sales would increase when the campus opened after summer vacations.

Most students, however, think that the ban is 'cosmetic' and will dissolve with the passage of time. They are buying cigarette packs to avoid shortage on the campus.

Political Science Department student Shakeel said he bought a packet every evening from outside the campus. Shareef, from the Geography Department, said employees at hostels would start selling tobacco within the next few days and that, "We will not have to go far away to buy cigarettes."

It is a lot easier to get naswar, as one user, Shabir, said, "I buy a packet of naswar on a daily basis and it is easy to get naswar than to taking puffs on cigarettes."

The university administration has banned the sale of cigarettes on the campus from June 1, 2007. According to a survey conducted by the Psychology Department, about 5,000 students out of the total 20,000 were smokers.
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