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Sunday July 14, 2024

‘Tobacco industry’s deliberate attempt to lure children towards smoking’

By APP
April 21, 2024
Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Head of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (left) and a representatoinal image of a child smoking a cigarette. — linkedin/Imran (Malik) Ahmad and Unsplash
Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Head of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (left) and a representatoinal image of a child smoking a cigarette. — linkedin/Imran (Malik) Ahmad and Unsplash

Islamabad : Health activists have raised alarms about tobacco industry’s attempts to seek approval for the manufacturing of 10-stick cigarette packs on the pretext of exporting to another country.  

In a press release shared by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) here, the activists expressed grave concerns over its potential impact on children and low-income groups across the nation.

Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Head of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), stated that for years, the tobacco industry in Pakistan has grappled with regulations banning the sale of single sticks, a measure crucial in deterring young people from smoking and protecting vulnerable populations.

However, recent efforts by tobacco companies to ask for production of 10-stick packs, under the guise of export arrangements, pose a significant threat to public health and the well-being of Pakistani youth as the same will end up being sold in Pakistan.

Similar attempts were made in the past but Ministry of Health did not issue the NOC. The application for 10-stick packs by the tobacco industry is deeply troubling.

It will not only undermines the progress made in tobacco control but also directly targets children and low-income individuals who are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of tobacco consumption, he expressed.

Dr. Khalil Ahmad Dogar, Program Manager at SPARC, emphasized the detrimental impact of such a move would have on public health efforts in Pakistan.

He said that allowing the sale of 10-stick packs in the domestic market would reverse the strides made in reducing tobacco use prevalence and increasing awareness of its harmful effects. This move directly contradicts the government’s efforts to curb tobacco consumption through taxation and regulation.

The activists urged the government of Pakistan to not allow the manufacturing or sale of 10-stick packs and prevent the exploitation of children and low-income groups by the tobacco industry.