Wolesi Jirga has adopted a draft law that calls for a ban on public smoking and increases the import duty on tobacco products by 50 percent
The members of the Wolesi Jirga, lower house of Parliament, have decided to act tough against public smoking and tobacco use in the country.
On Monday, the house adopted a draft law banning smoking in public places and increasing the import duty on tobacco products by 50 percent. Once the law comes into force, sale of cigarettes to children will become a criminal offence. Then house also suggested public awareness campaigns against public smoking.
After the law comes into force, those found smoking in public places would face fine up to 300 Afs and tax on cigarette import would also be increased by 50 percent
Mujib Rahman Samkanai, a member of Health Commission in Wolesi Jirga, said those who violate the law would be fined.
Earlier, there was no such law in Afghanistan that called for the ban on public smoking or tobacco use.
This draft law on banning smoking and tobacco was presented to the lower house by Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) last month after detailed discussions among the council of ministers.
Addressing mediapersons, Mr. Samkanai said cigarette and tobacco advertisements need to be banned and the free advertisements against smoking and other intoxicants need to be shown on television channels.
After the law comes into force, those found smoking in public places would face fine up to 300 Afs and tax on cigarette import would also be increased by 50 percent. Presently, the tax on cigarette and tobacco import is 14 percent.
However, some lawmakers have different views on this.
Obaidullah Ramin, a lawmaker from Baghlan province, said in order to discourage the consumption of cigarette and tobacco, tax should be increased by 100 percent.
Gulalai Noor Safi, a lawmaker representing Balkh province, said the increase in tax will only give fillip to drug smuggling from Pakistan and Iran.
The Wolesi Jirga Speaker, Abdul Raof Ibrahimi said the issue was discussed by 18 commissions of the house, which included religious scholars too.
Of the total 127 legislators present in the house, 102 gave green signal to the law.
The law comprises five chapters and 25 articles.
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