Health hazard

The widespread availability of illegal cigarettes in Pakistan poses a significant threat to pub­lic health, as authorities struggle to curb their sale. Despite govern­ment efforts to crack down on re­tailers and smuggling, these il­legal cigarettes remain easily available at much lower prices than legal brands.

Experts have expressed con­cerns that the rampant violation of tobacco control laws and the unfettered sale of illegal cigarettes are undermining the govern­ment’s health policies. With over half of the cigarette market now occupied by illicit cigarettes, Paki­stan has become one of the largest hubs for illegal cigarettes in Asia.

Similarly, the lack of regulation on loose cigarette sales and the sale of cigarettes to minors fur­ther exacerbates the problem. These easy access points are hin­dering efforts to restrict tobac­co consumption and promoting smoking among minors.

The prevalence of cheap ille­gal cigarettes is straining the health budgets of both federal and provincial governments, di­verting resources away from es­sential healthcare services. To ad­dress this growing public health crisis, the government must pri­oritise curbing the sale of illegal cigarettes nationwide and take stringent measures against illegal cigarette manufacturers. 



ePaper - Nawaiwaqt