In the latest Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) published in the Gazette of Pakistan, the government of Pakistan has issued stringent guidelines for the tobacco manufacturing companies and retailers who sell cigarettes and other tobacco products.
“No tobacco or tobacco product advertisement, promotion, and sponsorship shall be allowed in media,” Dawn quoted the SRO.
It further stated, “tobacco products cannot be advertised by display and visibility of tobacco products at, either inside or outside of a point of sale, including mobile or fixed retail outlet and the street vendor or any other place” is prohibited.
To put it simply, as per the latest directive of the Ministry of Health Tobacco Control Cell, retailers have been barred from displaying cigarettes at all shops and will now have to keep them hidden. The same rule also means that the shopkeepers cannot market/ advertise cigarettes at the front of their shops through printed material.
“It was unfortunate that tobacco products were placed near sweets and other edible items to attract children and youth. Now we will start efforts to stop CSR activities by tobacco companies,” said Dr. Mohammad Zia, Technical Head of ministry’s Tobacco Control Cell while talking to Dawn.
Dr. Zia further spoke of the World Health Organization’s guidelines on tobacco control out of which Pakistan is left only left with one to implement as rest are already in place.
“We have implemented most of the recommendations of the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which was signed by Pakistan in 2004. Now the only recommendation, which has to be implemented, is that the tobacco companies should be stopped from taking part in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities,” he told the newspaper.
Moreover, tobacco manufacturers are also barred from incentivizing the shopkeepers through gifts and discounts to increase their sales.