Citizens demand prevention of sale of tobacco to minors


Citizens on Tuesday stressed the need for making proper strategies to prevent sale of tobacco to minors in the federal capital. They said sincere efforts were needed to prevent the spread of tobacco as smoking in indoor public places, advertisements and promotions, printing of pictorial health warnings on packets and availability of duty-evaded and attractive looking smuggled brands in the market was still widespread. According to available data, more than 15 billion smuggled and duty-non-paid cigarettes were being sold annually in the country. This illicit trade not only caused an annual loss of more than Rs 10 billion to the national exchequer, but also undermined public health agenda as these tobacco products failed to comply with the regulations issued of the government, citizens complained. “Most of these packs do not even carry the Urdu health warning and the regulations prohibiting consumer promotions were also being blatantly violated,” they added. When contacted, an official of Tobacco Control Cell said that in line with the spirit of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the government had already enacted various tobacco control measures through the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance 2002. The said law contained provisions restricting smoking at public places, restricted advertisement and promotion of tobacco products and prohibited sale of cigarettes to minors. He said Pakistan was the 5th country in Asia, and the 26th country in the entire world, which had introduced pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs under the Cigarette Printing of Warning Ordinance 2002.