Tobacco advertising to be monitored and controlled

0
142

Another initiative for tobacco control, Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS) monitoring, has been launched by The Network for Consumer Protection to monitor advertising and promotional activities and patronisation of different campaigns under the guise of corporate social responsibility by tobacco companies. The Network Executive Coordinator Nadeem Iqbal, while highlighting the significance of the initiative, said tobacco promotion and sponsorship was marginally an unattended subject by regulators in Pakistan. Monitoring of TAPS by The Network is funded by Bloomberg Global Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, implemented by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (TFK) and International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union).
“Banning TAPS is recommended by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to all its parties. Article 13 of FCTC recommends parties to the treaty to introduce a precautionary approach to prompt for restricting tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship to reduce the burden of tobacco-related diseases. Pakistan is a signatory of the FCTC and thus committed to the obligations laid out by the FCTC,” Nadeem Iqbal said.
According to a press release issued on Tuesday, The Network will be setting up a monitoring mechanism for TAPS in populous districts of the country in collaboration with different non-government and civil society organisations including World Health Organisation, Intermedia, Aurat Foundation and Pakistan Medical Association. The campaign will by allying with local press clubs, districts governments, local parliamentarians and civil society organisations in targeted districts of country. Different countries around the globe have successfully banned tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship to reduce the health burden caused by tobacco use. Australia has progressively restricted tobacco advertising and promotion since 1970 and finally introduced the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Amendment Act 2000 which was again reviewed in 2002. The effectiveness of an advertising ban is proved by the subsequent reduction in the prevalence and initiation of smoking in Australia.
Bangladesh has also banned all forms of direct and indirect advertisement of tobacco products in 2005 and inducted a unique feature in the judicial system to restrict tobacco advertising by introducing mobile courts which operate in order to quicken the law enforcement mechanism to address the severity of issue. Everyday in Pakistan, 1,200 youths and underage children start smoking and most of them are hooked to the habit for a lifetime as a result of tobacco advertisment and promotion. Different business reports on Pakistan state that “distribution and sale of two major tobacco companies has heightened in the past few years due to better point of sale ‘merchandising’.” Pakistan’s tobacco control law 2002 partially bans tobacco advertisement and promotion, but unfortunately the modern marketing techniques and promotional activities remain unaddressed. Pakistan as a signatory of the FCTC needs to take concrete measures to ensure its domestic legislation complies with international commitments.