ISLAMABAD: To combat the habit of selling tobacco to minors under 18, the capital launched an online registration system for tobacco dealers on Friday.

Excise and Taxation Director Bilal Azam said the registration of tobacco vendors would help reduce the practice of selling smuggled tobacco and the sale of loose cigarettes near educational facilities at a ceremony.

Vendors will be awarded licences after they have registered, he said, adding that they will be required to sign an affidavit promising not to sell contraband tobacco or loose cigarettes near educational institutions or to children under 18. They will also tell them that smoking is harmful to their health.

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The registration would also enable the excise department in monitoring tobacco merchants, according to Mr Bilal, who added that the registration would result in the creation of a database.

Dr. Minhajus Siraj, Pims’ Joint Executive Director, stated the capital administration had been asked to apply the Tobacco Act of 1958. Six countries have signed on to the act, and the United States has begun work on a tobacco dealer license, he noted.

Physical inspections of cigarette merchants have begun in the capital under the laws, he said. As a result, the number of tobacco selling points decreased by 35%.

“We want to save our youth from tobacco,” said Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Mohammad Hamza Shafqat. “The registration will enable us to monitor the practice of selling tobacco to the youth.”

He also claimed that it would reduce the black economy generated by smuggled cigarettes and unlawful trading.

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