Pakistan - govt misses deadline to implement pictorial tobacco warnings..

February 9, 2010 - ISLAMABAD: The country’s healthcare authorities have once again failed to implement the decision regarding enforcing pictorial warnings on cigarette packs from February 1, 2010. Initially, January 1, 2010 had been set as the deadline to implement the decision, which was later extended to February 1, 2010.

The decision to print a pictorial health warning was announced by the Health Ministry on May 31, 2009.

The Network, a leading anti-smoking civil society organisation, criticised the government’s failure to enforce the ministry’s decision, which has again extended the implementation until the end of May, 2010. It said the government had been constantly violating its own decisions to implement the pictorial warnings, suspecting the government was secretly safeguarding the interests of the tobacco industry. The Network Executive Director Dr Arif Azad said almost 273 people die of tobacco-related diseases in Pakistan every day.

Azad- Pakistan, along with another 168 countries, was bound by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to enforce pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs. The treaty was drafted under the aegis of World Health Organisation and adopted by world health assembly in 2003, with Pakistan ratifying it on Novembers 3, 2004.

Reference: Govt misses deadline to implement pictorial tobacco warnings, Staff Report, Pakistan Daily Times, 2/2/2010.

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