Pakistan: the Minister for National Health Services announces 85% pictorial warnings

The Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Saira Afzal Tarar announced on 11 February 2015 that new pictorial warnings will be required on all tobacco packaging to cover 85 percent of both sides of cigarette packs, up from the currently applied 40%. The new measure will make Pakistan the third country in the world besides Thailand and India to have warnings of such size.

Addressing a press conference, the minister said that the tobacco companies will need to start implementing this decision from 30 March 2015 and all stocks with the old warnings will need to be sold out by 30 May.

The Minister further explained that the introduction of the new enhanced pictorial warning was initiated in 2011. She said that, by implementing this measure, Pakistan fulfills its obligation under Article 11 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and becomes a world leader for the other Parties to follow.

The minister said that tobacco use is a major cause of deaths in Pakistan, where 100,000 people lose their lives every year from tobacco related diseases.

More information is available on the website of the Tobacco Control Cell, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, at http://tcc.gov.pk/

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