Pakistan - strong tobacco control measures..

June 3, 2009 - The government on Sunday, May 31st World NO Tobacco Day (WNTD) announced an immediate rollback of the controversial Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) on Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs) and making the printing of pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs and outers mandatory with effect from January 1, 2010.

The government also prohibited the tobacco companies from offering free giveaways, cash rebates or discounts as a marketing incentive. It also announced to make Pakistan Railways smoke-free from July 1, 2009.

Minister for Health Mir Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani made these surprise announcements at a seminar organized in connection with World No-Tobacco Day 2009 (WNTD) on Sunday, May 31st.

Pakistan shocked health experts at home and abroad on September 6, 2008 when it issued the controversial SRO containing guidelines for the establishment of designated smoking areas (DSAs). No other decision of the Ministry of Health has triggered as much media criticism as the said SRO.

In fact, the government went a step ahead by recognising the importance of this year's theme of World No-Tobacco Day and making it mandatory, with effect from January 1, 2010, to print pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs and outers. "We realize that in view of our low literacy rate, people need to be warned of the health risks of smoking through graphic representations," Jakhrani stated. He also said that heavy penalties would be awarded to tobacco companies that offer any kind of marketing incentives to promote sales. "With effect from July 1, 2009, no tobacco company will be allowed to offer goods, cash rebates, or discounts as a marketing incentive," he stated.

Jakhrani also announced that all railway trains will be smoke-free from July 1, 2009. "We have worked out an action plan with the Ministry of Railways towards this end," he informed. After Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Railways will be the second public transport organisation to become smoke-free. He also promised to work on enforcement of the Prohibition of Smoking Ordinance by prohibiting smoking in all public places including government and public offices, restaurants, airports and railway stations, etc.

The woes of the financially-starved Tobacco Control Cell also appeared to have been heard. Jakhrani promised to strengthen the cell so that it is able to perform its functions in a meaningful and effective manner.

Acting WHO chief Dr. Ahmed Shadoul read out the message of Regional Director EMRO Dr. Hussein A Gezairy. The RD has warned governments that the tobacco industry will not stop its attempts to manipulate the regulations (for application of pictorial health warnings) for its own benefit, and that they should, therefore, anticipate its steps and act accordingly.

Earlier, Shaheen Masud, director general-implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, recommended the simplification of procedures governing award of penalties for violation of the anti-smoking ordinance, and formulation of a multi-stakeholder response to the tobacco epidemic, with the ministries of education, railways, interior, youth affairs, as well as ulema, media, and police acting as key agents of change. She highlighted current and past initiatives of the Tobacco Control Cell, and pleaded for approval of the Rs.34.934 million PC-1.

Media Highlights..

Coalition for Tobacco Control - Pakistan - WNTD 2009

Related news brief: Pakistan - Government must withdraw Statutory Regulatory Order..; Bloomberg Grant: Tobacco Reforms in Pakistan...

References: Pakistan - Landmark decisions for tobacco control by Shahina Maqbool, The News, 6/1/2009.

Click on image to enlarge, Pakistan Coat of Arms..



August 3, 2011 at 8:50 PM

why our government have double standards in this regards.
for ordinary people there is a horrible picture of a patient.(which is not caused by cigarette defenatly.
& for politicians in national Assembly there is a pure white packet of cigarette with a logo of Govt Of Pakistan.
why don't you put Zardari's Picture on it.