ISLAMABAD - Society for Protection of Rights of the Child (SPARC) organized a seminar on highpoint graphic health warning to be at least 70 percent area of the cigarette packets, said a press release issued here on Monday. The graphic health warnings on cigarette packs are a proven and cost-effective measure to create mass awareness and reduce tobacco consumption. Malik Imran, the country representative of CTFK, said that the developed countries have successfully protected their youth from smoking by introducing plain packaging of cigarette packs, whereas Pakistan is still under the influence of the tobacco industry. He urged the government to increase GHW to protect our children from tobacco.
Khalil Ahmed, Program Manager, SPARC said that according to the existing law the graphic health warning must be 60 percent of the pack size. The increase in size was announced in an SRO in 2017 that replaced the 2015 notification that would have increased the size to 85percent of packaging. “It is disappointing that the packet warning size in Pakistan is still less than other countries in the region. Nepal has a 95percent packet warning size, India is at 85percent while, Sri Lanka has 80percent. The graphical warning plays a vital role in deterring any potential smokers, and also reflect a country’s commitment to public health policies”, he added. Shariq Mahmood Khan, CEO Chromatic Trust said, adding warning labels like these with graphic depictions of the negative health consequences of cigarette smoking could have averted thousands of smoke-related deaths if approved as planned. Already 1200 children imitate smoking in our country daily. Health warnings are significant as it reduces the consumption rate and intent to quit smoking altogether, he said.