Delays in the approval of the National Tobacco Control Strategy (NTCS) has definitely paved the way for moves to facilitate tobacco industry as approval of SRO on Heated Tobacco Products.
Coalition for Tobacco Control-Pakistan (CTC-Pak), a coalition of more than 100 CSos has expressed concern and utter disappointment on measures taken by the government to legalize Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs) particularly e-cigarettes in Pakistan which are against the protocols of FCTC and country’s tobacco control laws. It is ironic that the Ministry of health did not even consult with all stakeholders while legalizing heated tobacco products which are already banned in the region’s countries. Being the signatory of the FCTC, issuing SRO regarding e-cigarettes is blatant violation of international convention protocols for tobacco control.
CTC-Pak project coordinator, Zeeshan Danish, in a statement has said that the Ministry of Health instead of focusing on the enforcement of tobacco control laws to safe public health, has been facilitating the tobacco industry by disregarding Article 5.2 of the FCTC. It is surprising that the ministry is trying to reverse the country’s efforts and achievements of two decades regarding tobacco control.
WHO and international donors are providing support to the government to take measures for tobacco control in Pakistan. FCTC member countries are responsible for policy making for tobacco control. The health ministry has developed a National Tobacco Control Policy or Strategy which is waiting to be approved since long. The CTC-Pak and other tobacco control organizations have urged upon the government to approve and implement the strategy without further delay.
The CSOs asked the Tobacco Control Cell (TCC) of Ministry of Health to play its role for approval of the strategy and thwart the efforts to spread tobacco products in the country jeopardizing the public health.