ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Capital Administration and Development Division (CA&DD) have decided to launch a campaign for a tobacco-free higher education sector in Pakistan. Embarking upon a new journey to create awareness about social issues, particularly public health, the HEC has signed a memorandum of understanding with (CA&DD) on Wednesday, said spokesman of the commission. The MoU was signed after a seminar entitled Drugs and Tobacco Use – Trend, Impact and Control jointly organised by the HEC and the CA&DD at Commission Secretariat on Wednesday. Speaking on the occasion, HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed declared Higher Education Commission as a smoke-free facility. He said that this is the first step towards encouragement of smoke-free universities and higher education sector. He said that those found smoking inside the HEC premises will be fined and a task force will be established to implement this initiative. Shedding light on importance of sports, he said that the HEC has decided to hold an annual sports event in universities to promote a culture of healthy activities among the youth. He urged the youth to become socially responsible citizens. Dr Raza Bhatti emphasised upon the role of teachers in controlling use of tobacco and drugs. He underlined the hazards of passive smoking and said that it is imperative to increase awareness regarding hazards of smoking. Minhajus Siraj narrated the history of tobacco use and revealed its hazards to human health and damages to environment in addition to an overview of the concept of a smoke-free city. He said that smoking causes blindness, peripheral vascular disease, gangrene and lung diseases in addition to various kinds of cancers. “For every cigarette you smoke, you lose seven minutes of your life to illness caused by tobacco,” he said adding that the chemical compounds in a cigarette smoke has killing impacts, while a number of chemical compounds in a cigarette smoke is 7,357. He also revealed the harms of passive smoking and said that there is no safe margin from second-hand tobacco smoke. He said that it regrettable that 55 per cent of households have at least one individual smoker. He disclosed the facts about tobacco industry and how it impacts environment, humanity and economy. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Adviser Dr Manzoorul Hassan presented the World Drug Report 2015 and said that 6.7 million people used drugs in Pakistan in 2013, including 78 percent of men and 22 percent of women. He said that drug use places heavy burden on public health. He underscored the use of drugs among children and made shocking revelations saying that approximately 2.5 percent of children aging 15-19 years used various types of drugs in the last year. National Football Girls Team Caption Sana stressed the need for promotion of sports among youth to bring them towards healthy activities and ward-off the harms of drugs and tobacco use. The workshop was attended by vice chancellors, professors and a large number of students from across Pakistan, locally as well as through video conferencing.