Civil society and media professionals have called for legislation for a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertisement and promotion, said a press release.
At an advocacy meeting organised by TheNetwork for Consumer Protection, they demanded from the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination (NHSRC) to immediately get the law passed by the parliament.
TheNetwork Executive Coordinator Nadeem Iqbal said Pakistan committed to checking tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) by ratifying the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2004. He said the country had made little progress in the 10 years.
Quoting State Bank of Pakistan stats, he said Pakistanis smoked away Rs250 billion in cigarettes last year. “Some 64 billion cigarettes were consumed during this period.”
Iqbal said the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD)’s ‘smoke free Islamabad’ initiative has yielded positive results. Similarly, he said ban on tobacco in public places and transport has been implemented at most places.
He said the Supreme Court took a suo motu notice for implementation of tobacco control laws in 2006 but the case is still pending.
TheNetwork Project Coordinator Dr Naureen Arshad said the government was yet to raise taxes on cigarettes as required by FCTC.
Journalist Khalid Azeem, who is a member of draft committee of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) code of ethics, assured to lobby to include tobacco-control clauses in the PFUJ code of ethics.