ISLAMABAD, Nov 12 (APP):The public health advocates have issued a compelling plea for an immediate expansion of Graphic Health Warnings (GHW) on tobacco products within the country.
In a statement issued by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), these activists have conveyed profound apprehension regarding the devastating impact of tobacco consumption on public health, particularly among children. They contend that fortified GHWs can assume a pivotal role in diminishing tobacco usage and averting associated health hazards.
Malik Imran Ahmed, the Country Head of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), has emphasized the urgency for Pakistan to take immediate measures to augment the size and visibility of GHWs on tobacco products. The prevailing health warning, currently set at 60%, frequently goes unnoticed by consumers, including vulnerable children, owing to its diminutive dimensions and discreet placement. It’s worth noting that Pakistan’s neighbouring countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Maldives, and Myanmar have adopted significantly larger GHWs.
Imran has recommended increasing the GHW size to encompass a minimum of 85% of the primary display areas of cigarette packs and other tobacco products. This decisive action would guarantee that the warnings become conspicuous and easily discernible for all consumers, with particular consideration to children, serving as a continuous reminder of the perils associated with tobacco consumption.
Dr. Khalil Ahmed Dogar, the Program Manager at SPARC, underscored that tobacco consumption poses a substantial threat to the health and well-being of Pakistani children. Studies have convincingly demonstrated that Graphic Health Warnings when meticulously crafted and prominently showcased, wield a substantial influence in discouraging children and adolescents from initiating smoking or resorting to other tobacco products. Nonetheless, the tobacco industry has wielded considerable influence over prior Pakistani governments, preventing the implementation of more substantial health warnings on cigarette packaging.
Khalil asserted that by enhancing GHWs, Pakistan has a distinctive opportunity to shield its youthful citizens from the catastrophic consequences of tobacco-related maladies, encompassing lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disorders.