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Pakistan has the cheapest cigarettes in the world:WHO

Lahore: The provincial consultation on tobacco control unanimously recommends the strict and effective implementation on tobacco control laws and call for necessary changes in the existing laws to bring it in compliance with the framework convention on tobacco control.

The consultative seminar on tobacco control was held in a local hotel, here today. Advisor to Chief Minister Ms. Saba Sadiq, Special Secretary Health Babar Hayyat Tarrar, Director General Health Dr. Nisar Ahmad Cheema, representatives from district administration, social welfare and education department and World Health Organization were participated. Ms. Saba Sadiq proposed that awareness lecturers and posters exhibition on tobacco use should be arranged in education institutions. She also appreciated the crackdown on Shesha cafes by district administration.

She offered that a resolution be prepared which would be presented in Punjab Assembly for its approval. Special Secretary Babar Hayyat Tarrar said that laws are available in Pakistan but implementation is very weak. He said that to implement the laws, it is necessary to create awareness among the people so they could abide by these laws.

Shahzad Alam representative of WHO Islamabad said that tobacco is the single greatest preventable cause of death in the world today, killing up to around six million people every year. He said that tobacco use continues to grow in developing countries including Pakistan due to steady population growth, low cigarette price, lack of awareness about its danger and aggressive tobacco industrial marketing efforts.

He said that post devolution situation demands tangible steps to effectively implement the anti-tobacco laws and also to bring it in conformity with the provision of WHO framework convention on tobacco control. The speakers pleaded for implementation of smoke free laws, introduction of rational pictorial health warnings, enforcement of comprehensive ban on tobacco promotion and sponsorship, raise tobacco prices/ taxation and allocating funds for the treatment of tobacco related fatal diseases as Pakistan has the cheapest cigarettes in the world and banning the sale of loose cigarettes.

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