• Key Fact

    Tobacco kills up to half of its users.

  • In World

    Globally, tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year.

  • In Pakistan

    About 108,800 people die annually due to tobacco use.

  • Health Cost

    Tobacco users who die prematurely deprive their families of income, raise healthcare cost & hinder development.

Significant Initiatives/Achievements of Tobacco Control Cell

Tobacco use is single largest preventable cause of death in the world.In Pakistan, tobacco is a cause of death of around 108,800 persons every year. This is 298 deaths per day. The youth of Pakistan are being targeted by the tobacco industry through different means entailing enhancement in smoking tendency. Around 1200 Pakistani children between age of 6 & 15 start smoking every day.

According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 2015 almost 24 million (19.1%) adults currently use tobacco in any form. That accounts for 15.6 million (12.4%) adults who currently smoke tobacco, including 3.7 million adults using water pipes, hookah or shisha, and another 9.6 million (7.7%) adults who use smokeless tobacco.

To address this major health issue, the Federal Government has taken a number of initiatives. These inter-alia include (i) promulgation of the Cigarette (Printing of Warning) Ordinance, 1979 and the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-smokers Health Ordinance, 2002 (ii) signing and rectification of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) (iii) creation of National Tobacco Control Cell in 2007.

The Government of Pakistan signed the Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) in May, 2004 and ratified it in the same year. FCTC is the first international treaty to provide a framework (and attendant obligations) for tobacco regulations. Under Article 5.2 of the FCTC, the Parties to the said treaty are mandated to put in place proper and effective national coordination mechanism for multi-sectoral coordination of tobacco control efforts.

In order to fulfill obligations under Article 5.2 of FCTC, Tobacco Control Cell was created in Ministry of Health (Defunct) on 1st July, 2007 under the Director General (Implementation), as a part of non-development budget. The objective of Tobacco Control Cell is to reduce prevalence of tobacco use in Pakistan by taking administrative, legislative and coordination measures for implementation of FCTC Articles. Currently, the Cell has been placed under Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (Mo NHSR&C). Tobacco Control Cell is also mandated to achieve the target set in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) i.e. SDG 3 (a): Strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

Tobacco Control Cell, since its inception, is implementing demand and supply reduction strategies to reduce prevalence of tobacco use in Pakistan. Following are some major achievements of the Cell:

Legislative/Policy Measures

  1. Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smoker’s Health Ordinance, 2002
    1. Ban on smoking in places of public work or use
    2. Ban on smoking in public service vehicles
    3. Regulation of tobacco advertisements
    4. Ban on sale of cigarettes to under-18s
    5. Ban on sale or storage of cigarettes/tobacco products in/near educational institutions.
    6. Mandatory display of “No Smoking” signs at public places.
  2. Cigarette (Printing of Warning) Ordinance, 1979: Amendment in 2002
    1. Ban on possessing, selling or offering for sale packets of cigarettes without health warning.
  3. Ban on import of Sheesha (tobacco and non-tobacco) and related substances.
  4. Ban on tobacco advertisements in Print and Electronic Media (through billboard a poster  or banner affixed outside a shop, kiosk, or mobile trolley etc.)
  5. Ban on manufacturing, importing and selling of cigarette packs having less than 20 cigarettes.
  6. Ban on free samples, cash rebates, discounts and sponsorship of events
  7. Notified Pictorial Health Warning of 85% size on both sides of cigarette packs and outers. Later on a High level Committee recommended to adopt phased approach i.e. 50% from 1st June, 2016 and 55% or 60% from 1st June, 2017. Matter is sub-judice.
  8. Declaration of places of public work or use completely smoke-free/ Illegalization of “Designated Smoking Areas”.
  9. Increased FED on cigarette packs in 2016-17 and 2015-16 budgets

Infrastructure development / Institutionalization

  1. Restructuring of  National Tobacco Control Cell at Federal Level.
  2. Establishment of  Provincial TCC at KPK and Balochistan. Punjab and Sindh committed same.
  3. Formation of National Technical Advisory Group (TAG)
  4. Formation of Technical Working Group on Tobacco Taxations
  5. Notified Provincial Implementation & Monitoring Committees / Taskforces
  6. Notified Districts Implementation & Monitoring Committees
  7. District Enforcement Teams

Awareness / Capacity Building

  1. More than 402 capacity building sessions with law enforcement officers & authorized persons (12,000 officers were trained).
  2. Provincial and District Implementation Committees meetings.
  3. Development, printing and direct dissemination to districts of communication materials  (1,157,000 units)
  4. Installation of plates / posters carrying “Smoking is an Offense” message in ministries.
  5. Installation of 200 boards with tobacco control messages at public places in Islamabad.
  6. Coordination with PEMRA to air tobacco control messages
  7. Development and dissemination of advocacy kits on tobacco control (for parliamentarians and journalists)
  8. Launching of 2 national mass media campaigns
  9. Sponge (2016)
  10. Tobacco is hollowing you out (2015)
  11. TV/ Radio Programmes/ Newspapers Articles / City branding
  12. Production and airing of two documentary  films in national and regional languages
  13. Incorporation of tobacco control messages in curriculum (Punjab has incorporated)
  14. Branding of buses with tobacco control messages in Islamabad/ Rawalpinidi.

Enforcement

  1. Letters to Provincial CMs
  2. Capacity building of law enforcement officers / authorized persons.
  3. Raids by law enforcement teams.
  4. Penalized Philip Morris Pakistan by Hyderabad Court, on violation of tobacco advertisement guidelines.
  5. Registration of 1396 cases across the country under various sections of 2002 Ordinance.
  6. Directions by provincial IGs for strict enforcement of tobacco control laws.