Coalition for Tobacco Control in Pakistan has criticized the performance of Tobacco Control Cell in the implementation of a Presidential Ordinance to discourage smoking. Khurram Hashmi, National Coordinator, Coalition for Tobacco Control in Pakistan said a multinational tobacco company has started a promotional advertisement campaign of cigarettes by violating the President’s ordinance “The Prohibition of Smoking in Enclosed Places and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Ordinance, 2002.”
He said the recent promotional advertisement campaign of a prominent cigarette brand is a clear violation of government rules and regulations. The only purpose of this advertisement campaign is to attract youth for the smoking, and government should take strict action against company involved in the violation of anti-smoking rules and regulations, Hashmi alleged.
“We are in contact with the senior officials of tobacco control cell and we are hopeful that proper action will be taken against the violators,” he added. According to the aforesaid presidential ordinance “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in the force, no person/company shall advertise tobacco and tobacco products in any media, in any place and any public service vehicle”
Khurram Hashmi claimed that he contacted Dr Asad Hafeez, Executive Director Health Services Academy and Head of Tobacco Control Cell but Dr Hafeez, according to Khurram Hashmi, was ignorant of any such illegal promotional campaign of the cigarette brand. Later, however, his office called back to Khurram and confirmed that the matter had been investigated and latest promotional campaign is a clear violation of government rules, regulations and guidelines.
Javed Khan, Chairman, National Alliance for Tobacco Control commented, “In a country like Pakistan where more than a 1000 new young people fall victim to this addiction of smoking every day, it is indeed a matter of great concern that such open advertisement of cigarette are going unchecked by the relevant government authorities.