Leading civil society organizations and public health advocates in Pakistan have come together to raise their collective voices against the blatant violation of tobacco control laws by tobacco manufacturers at various points of sale across the country. This alarming trend has prompted a call for immediate action from government authorities and relevant stakeholders to enforce and strengthen tobacco control measures.
“The rampant violation of tobacco control laws at the point of sales is deeply concerning,” said Zeeshan Danish, Project Coordinator of Coalition for Tobacco Control Pakistan (CTC-Pak). “We have worked tirelessly to advocate for strong tobacco control measures and to protect our citizens, especially our youth, from the harmful effects of tobacco. It is disheartening to witness tobacco manufacturers undermining these efforts using deceptive marketing tactics targeting vulnerable populations.
The point-of-sale advertisement also remains a challenge. Tobacco products are often displayed prominently near cash counters, making them easily accessible and appealing to consumers, including youth. This exposure normalizes tobacco use and increases the likelihood of impulse purchases. Furthermore, schemes and promotions announced by tobacco companies, such as price discounts or bonus offers, entice consumers and can lead to increased consumption. These tactics undermine public health efforts and target vulnerable populations, including low-income individuals and youth, who may be more susceptible to price incentives.
Zeeshan Danish Project Coordinator CTC-Pak emphasized that a multi-faceted approach is necessary to address these violations. Strengthening enforcement mechanisms and penalties for violating tobacco control laws is crucial. Collaborative efforts between government agencies, public health organizations, civil society and media can play a pivotal role in raising awareness and enforcing compliance with tobacco control laws.