Bloomberg Grant: Tobacco Reforms in Pakistan..

October 25, 2008 - In Pakistan, some 57 tobacco manufacturers are currently operating in the country. Around 78% of the market share belongs to two corporate giants: Pakistan Tobacco Company, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, and Phillip Morris International (PMI), which completed the acquisition of Lakson Tobacco Pakistan, in February 2007.

About more then 25 million Pakistanis smoke, and 1,200 youth start smoking each day in Pakistan. An estimated more then 100,000 die annually from tobacco-related illnesses. In Pakistan, more than 55.3 billion cigarettes are produced.

In Pakistan, round about 50 percent of the population is illiterate and the smoking is more prevalent among poor. Therefore, written warnings have very little impact on making decision to smoke a cigarette or not. In this context, the pictorial warnings advised in FCTC are very relevant. By now 17 countries of the world have introduced pictorial warnings on cigarette packs in their countries. Those include Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Jordan, New Zealand, Panama, Romania, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

In 2002, “Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance, 2002” was promulgated. The main features of the law include prohibition of smoking at pubic places like airports, railway stations, hospitals, educational institutions, offices, planes, restaurants, public transport, bus stands except for designated areas under notification; ban on smoking near educational institutions within area of 50 meters; prohibition of sale to minors below age of 18 years; regulations of advertisements. There is very slow implementation of the Tobacco Control Ordinance.

Reference: Advocacy and Awareness Campaign to introduce Amendments into Tobacco Control Ordinance in Pakistan", Network for Consumer Protection in Pakistan, 10/24/2008.

Euromonitor: Tobacco in Pakistan..