COMMOTION erupted on a mini bus plying the Kanyama route on yesterday as passengers exchanged harsh words with the driver who was smoking, after he insisted that there was nothing wrong with what he was doing.
The Government in 2008 banned smoking in public places but smoking is still common on the streets of Lusaka and is affecting non-smoking people who say they are forced to passively smoke against their will.
According to one of the passengers on the bus, Melody Kasonde, the driver was adamant that the smoke of his cigarette was going out through the window and passengers had nothing to worry about.
But the passengers were agitated because the smoke was causing discomfort in the bus when some school children on the bus could be heard coughing, which incensed the passengers even more.
“It was so irritating that everyone on the bus got upset, children who were going to school were chocked by the smoke. We tried to control him but he was so rude and sounded not to care; something must be done because public smoking is becoming unbearable in Lusaka,” Ms. Kasonde said.
A concerned Lusaka dweller Pethias Silume observed that public smoking was a danger to both the smoker and others.
Mr Silume called on Government to put in place measures that discourage public smoking.
“When somebody smokes next to you, you are bound to inhale the smoke as much as that person and that is not right because I cannot be forced to smoke against my will.
“In other countries they have smoking zones where people can buy and smoke cigarettes. Government should also identify places where people can smoke not this thing of people smoking everywhere,” he said.
And Lusaka provincial medical officer Kennedy Malama agreed that public smoking was a health hazard as passive smoking was linked to cancer of the larynx and brain tumours.
Dr. Malama urged the police to arrest and charge those found guilty for the good of the public.
“Secondary smoke which is released into the air by a smoker is harmful to non-smokers because it has a higher concentration of harmful chemical toxins; law enforcers should make sure that they implement the law in place,” Dr. Malama said.