Pic­to­rial warn­ings on cig­a­rette packs sub­ject to min­is­te­rial clear­ance

Pakistan Observer - - TWIN CITIES -

ZUBAIR QURESHI ISLAMABAD— Min­is­ter for Na­tional Health Ser­vices Saira Afzal Tarar, Wed­nes­day while speak­ing at a sem­i­nar in con­nec­tion with World No Tobacco Day said the pic­to­rial health warn­ings ( PHW) on cig­a­rette pack­ets could not be en­hanced due to an in­ter- min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee and a num­ber of pe­ti­tions pend­ing be­fore the courts to re­view the im­pact of such warn­ings.

“Tobacco Con­trol Cell no­ti­fied new pic­to­rial health warn­ing in 2015 and en­hanced the size to 85pc of cig­a­rette pack on both sides. Later an In­terMin­is­te­rial Com­mit­tee ( IMC) was formed to re­view the im­pact of pic­to­rial health warn­ing on rev­enue & smug­gling and to con­sult with stake­hold­ers re­gard­ing im­ple­men­ta­tion is­sues,” she said while ad­dress­ing the par­tic­i­pants of the sem­i­nar jointly or­ga­nized by WHO and the Min­istry of Health.

The Com­mit­tee rec­om­mended to adopt phased ap­proach i. e. PHW to be in­creased by 10pc from 1st June, 2016 and fur­ther be in­creased by 10pc on 1st June, 2017 or 5pc on 1st June, 2017 and an­other 5% on 1st June, 2018. In the third year of the de­ci­sion, a sur­vey to as­sess the im­pact of pic­to­rial health warn­ing on rev­enue & smug­gling will be con­ducted. Af­ter re­view­ing the re­sult of the sur­vey, fur­ther de­ci­sion will be made.

Mean­while, two pe­ti­tions were filed in Islamabad High Court against the de­ci­sion of the Com­mit­tee. This Min­istry is re­spon­dent in the case. The rec­om­men­da­tions could not be im­ple­mented due to sub- ju­dice mat­ter. She as­sured that this Min­istry will take ev­ery step to im­ple­ment FCTC pro­vi­sions.

How­ever, she said that Pak­istan was com­mit­ted to im­ple­ment­ing tax and price poli­cies on tobacco prod­ucts as a way to re­duce tobacco con­sump­tion.

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