In 2007 ,Five million people died in the world as a direct result of tobacco.
In 20th Century, tobacco epidemic killed 100 million people world-wide.
About 100,000 people die annually due to tobacco use.
Tobacco use is a risk factor for six out of eight leading causes of death in the world.
New larger Pictorial Warning on Cigarette Packs – Pakistan joins club of the three countries
Islamabad, February 11, 2015 :- In a widely hailed move, the Ministry of National Health Services announced introduction of new larger size of Pictorial Health Warning on cigarette packs.
The new Pictorial Warning will cover remarkable 85 percent of cigarette pack on both sides. The measure will make Pakistan only the third country in the world besides Thailand and India to have enhanced Pictorial Health Warning to 85 percent .
The announcement was made by the Minister for National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination in a crowded press conference at the Ministry here today.
It is a major stride forward in curbing tobacco use elaborated the Minister saying it was after more than 4 years that the Pictorial Health Warning has been changed. The size of the waning has also been more than doubled from 40 percent to 85 percent, said the Minister. The matter of introducing the new enhanced Pictorial Warning was stalled since 2011.
After taking office in June 2013, we started working with focus both on communicable and non- communicable diseases. A process of consultation was initiated with the Provinces to revive the Tobacco Control Program and strengthen it. The Ministry also set about the task of aiming the critical measure of introduction of the long overdue Pictorial Health Warning with the stakeholders.
We take pride in announcing this major step today as Pakistan has fulfilled its obligation under Article 11 of the Frame Work Convention of Tobacco Control and become a world leader for the other countries to follow.
Tobacco use is a major cause of deaths world- wide and in Pakistan. The world has seen 100 Million deaths in the 20th century from tobacco related causes. In Pakistan 100,000 people lose their lives every year from tobacco related diseases.
Pictorial Warning on tobacco packs in the most effective means of communication with tobacco users, the minister said.
According to research, a smoker looks at this picture at an average of 7,000 times in a year. Moreover, those who intend to initiate smoking are discouraged by the warning where as it encourages those to intend to quit smoking.
Under the new measure, cigarette manufactured in the country, sale in the country and imported into the country will be required to have the new Pictorial Warning on their packs mandatory by 30th march 2015.
The Minister added that any manufactures, importer, distributer or retailer violating the new law shall be proceeded against according to law. She expressed the hope that all shareholders including the Provincial Governments shall ensure full implementation of the new measure.
It may be recalled that on last year World No Tobacco Day, the Minister had promised to introduced the new enhanced Pictorial Health Warning.
World No Tobacco Day, 2014
Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar on Friday said that the government has proposed new taxes on tobacco items in coming budget 2014-15 to reduce prevalence of tobacco use in the country. Addressing a press conference here, the minister said that a technical working group on tobacco taxation is being formed with representatives from the ministry of Health services, WHO and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to decide tobacco tax matters.
She said that the government has taken several steps to stop smoking including ban on tobacco advertisement from May 31st in print media, on television or radio, cable television or close circuit television network.
She said there will be also ban on tobacco advertisement on hard or soft on store boards, fascia affixed outside a shop, kiosk or mobile trolley, billboard whether fixed or mobile.
She said that rotation of pictorial health warning on cigarette packs will be ensured while signage (plastic plates carrying tobacco control messages) in all ministries will be installed.
She added National Tobacco Control programme for tobacco control will be launched while the federal government will coordinate with provincial governments to ensure enforcement of tobacco control laws especially ban on sale of cigarettes and other smoking substance to minors.
Saira Afzal Tarar also told about various achievements of Tobacco Control Board. She said that Tobacco Control Cell, since its inception, is implementing demand and supply reduction strategies to reduce tobacco use in Pakistan.
She said the cell introduced Pictorial Health Warning on cigarette packs and outers. Pakistan was among first 28 countries who introduced pictorial warnings on cigarette packs and banned on free samples, cash rebates, discounts and sponsorship of events, she added.
She also apprised about restrictions on tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship activities and declaration of places of public work or use completely smoke-free or Illegalization of areas.
She highlighted achievements of Board about incorporation of tobacco control messages in curriculum as Punjab has incorporated, establishment of basic tobacco control infrastructure in 20 project districts and formation besides activation of Provincial and District Implementation Committees on Tobacco Control.
The minister said a Provincial Tobacco Control Cell was created in Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa
She said various achievements of board included, development, printing and dissemination of information, education and communication materials, over 322 capacity building sessions with law enforcement officers and authorized persons, tv, radio programmes, newspapers articles, development and dissemination of advocacy kits on Tobacco Control for parliamentarians and journalists, production and airing of two documentary films on tobacco control (in English, Urdu, Sindhi and Pushto), declaration and implementation of Smoke-free Islamabad initiative, legal action against tobacco companies and sheesha sellers etc.. enforcement of tobacco control laws and letters to provincial health ministers for enforcement of tobacco control laws.
WHO representative to Pakistan Dr Nima Saeed Abid said that globally, tobacco use currently causes 5.4 million premature deaths each year and about half of all tobacco deaths occur between the ages of 35 and 69.
He said if current trends continue one billion people will die from tobacco use in the 21st century. While deaths caused by tobacco are expected to fall in high-income countries, as they are expected to double to 6.8 million in low and middle-income countries by 2030.
He urged to raise taxes on tobacco to bring revenue for the government and for health programmes, reducing tobacco use and preventing young people from starting to smoke and making communities and economies healthier.
He also urged for effective implementation of the existing laws and also making necessary amendments to bring it in conformity with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and WHO MPOWER six strategies.
He said that raising tobacco taxation (minimum 70pc) is widely considered the single most effective option for reducing tobacco use. A 10pc increase in average cigarette prices in Pakistan will lead to about a 5pc reduction in cigarette usage in Pakistan, he added.
Government of Pakistan made announcement to make Islamabad first model city for implementation of
tobacco control laws (Smoke-free Islamabad). To plan, implement, and monitor this initiative, a District Implementation & Monitoring Committee (DI&MC) on Tobacco Control was notified by the Chief Commissioner office
Islamabad. Tobacco Control Cell in coordination with Islamabad District Administration is implementing this initiative.
To monitor implementation, Tobacco Control Cell conducted numbers of DIC meetings. A meeting with stakeholders in Islamabad which includes Police Department, FBR, Customs Intelligence, Chambers of
Commerce, Health Department, Capital Development Administration, Traffic Police, Bazar Union, Health
Department, Education Department, Private Schools Association, Major Health Institutions in Islamabad (PIMS, Polyclinic, CDA Hospital) was also conducted. Tobacco Control Cell completed this task in phases.
In Phase 1, Tobacco Control Cell conducted numbers of Orientation session with individual stakeholders to sensitize them about the Medical Hazards of Tobacco use / Smoking & about the Tobacco Control Laws and their role. Moreover, more than 32 orientation sessions for following districts departments/stakeholders were conducted:
Distict Health Department
Directorate of Health Services CDA
Hotels & restaurants
FBR (Custom Intelligence)
Following awareness activities to make masses aware of this initiative were conducted:
Print Media ads
Billboards / city branding
TVCs (LED /Cable)
Installation of boards (at public places)
Branding of ITP Cabin
Pasting of stickers
Incorporation of Tobacco Control Messages (Transfer letters)
Circulars (with materials)
In Phase 2, DC Islamabad notified Law enforcement teams, under the supervision of Assistant Commissioners in all sub divisions of Islamabad. Warnings were issued to violators in this phase. In Phase 3, (from 1st Jan, 2013) law enforcement teams comprised of Assistant Commissioners and Police officers conducted raids in different vicinities of Islamabad and took strict actions against violators of the Tobacco Control Laws. This phase is in process now.World No-Tobacco Day, 2013. On World No Tobacco Day, 2013, following activities were conducted:
One hour live program on ATV
25 Minutes program on Roze TV
Live interview of PTV-News
Two one hour live programs on FM 101
Four one hour live programs on FM 92.4
Awareness campaign with Islamabad Traffic Police
City branding in Islamabad & Lahore
Newspaper ads in Gujranwala and Lahore