Cigarette company selling brand without pictorial health warning

A Pakistan tobacco company has started selling its brand of cigarettes without printing the mandatory pictorial health warning on each pack, reflecting a serious violation law and the said manufacturer be subjected to imprisonment of up to 2 years under Section 4 of the Cigarette (Printing of Warning) Ordinance, 1979.Sources told this scribe here on Tuesday that the civil society had expressed serious concerns over the violations by cigarette manufactures and stressed the need for effective implementation of tobacco control laws.

Cigarette pack

Ciagrette pack

Professor Javed Khan, Chairman, National Alliance for Tobacco Control expressing indignation over the continuous violations of tobacco control laws opined that with the efforts of civil society, the government had formulated a law for pictorial health warning on every cigarette packet, but taking advantage of devolution of Ministry of Health after 18th Amendment, some local tobacco companies violating these laws had started selling cigarettes without mandatory pictorial health warning.Now, there should be a central authority for formulation of anti-tobacco polices and their implementation as international organisations like WHO could co-ordinate only at federal level.

They had written letters to relevant officials and ministries for effective implementation of anti-tobacco laws but unfortunately the government had not been able to implement them yet, he added.Sources stated that in violation of government rules, a local tobacco company had started selling the brand of cigarettes without printing the mandatory pictorial health warning.

Printing of approved pictorial health warning is mandatory for every cigarette packet to be sold in the country and section 4 of the Cigarette (Printing of Warning) Ordinance 1979 says that anyone who manufactures, sells, offers for sale or even posses packs of cigarettes without the appropriate health warning, is punishable with imprisonment up to 2 years.Khurram Hashmi, National Co-ordinator, Coalition for Tobacco Control in Pakistan has said that selling of cigarettes by this tobacco company without printing the mandatory pictorial health warning is clear violation of the government rules and regulations.He said that provincial authorities had not been able to make satisfactory arrangements, following devolution of the Health Ministry, for the implementation and enforcement of the “Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Ordinance 2002” and resultantly the country might face the alarming effects.

As international treaties, conventions, agreements on tobacco control and their implementation is an exclusively federal subject, it is very important to make functional tobacco control cell at federal level.

He added that they were in contact with the senior officials of tobacco control cell and they were hopeful that proper action would be taken against the violators.

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