Pakistan implements graphic health warning on cigarette packs

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  1. sparklingway
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    sparklingway PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    It's been a long long wait since it was announced, the tobacco industry lobbied hard against it, managed to get the warning size reduced but the MoH has thankfully prevailed.

    Graphic health warnings on cigarette packs become a reality
    Monday, May 31, 2010
    Shahina Maqbool

    Islamabad

    In spite of the tobacco industry’s untiring efforts to stall the process for incorporation of pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs and outers, and to somehow have the momentous decision reversed, the Ministry of Health has elevated Pakistan’s international profile by formally launching picture-based health warnings with effect from today (May 30).

    The warnings, which were announced in May 2009 by the then minister for health, Mir Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani, will be launched by Minister for Health Makhdoom Shahabuddin at a ceremony arranged to observe World No Tobacco Day. Ours is the 21st country in the world to be implementing graphic health warnings.

    Pakistan took a giant leap forward last year by announcing historic measures for tobacco control, the introduction of picture-based health warnings being one of them. Even though these warnings were initially planned for implementation with effect from January 2010 and were delayed several times under pressure from various quarters, notably the tobacco industry, their implementation in Pakistan is doubtlessly a huge achievement that deserves to be acknowledged and appreciated.

    Picture-based warnings appear in more than a dozen countries. The number of countries implementing picture warnings has risen from one in 2005 to 23 in 2009. Some of the Eastern Mediterranean Region countries using picture warnings are Jordan (2005); Egypt (2008); Iran (2009) and Djibouti (2009).

    The Country Office of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Pakistan has been encouraging the government to adopt picture-based health warnings that meet the criteria for maximal effectiveness. The subject was first raised during a presentation made in 2008, and then at the first meeting of the Technical Advisory Group in the beginning of 2008. After that, there was no looking back as the need for picture-based warnings was highlighted at every forum, with trainings being arranged for TAG members and the Ministry of Health. The media too played a lead role in having these warnings implemented in Pakistan.

    The WHO particularly approves of tobacco health warnings that contain both pictures as well as text and urges countries to have a rotated series of warnings appearing at the same time, rather than just one. Multiple warnings provide more information to the consumer, increase overall impact, and reduce the “wear-out” effect. The first picture-based warning to appear on cigarette packs in Pakistan shows the effects of tobacco use on a patient suffering from mouth cancer, and will be replaced with a new one after a year.

    Picture-based health warnings are particularly significant for countries like Pakistan, which are beset with poor literacy rate and inadequacy of resources for public health education. Such warnings are the most cost-effective communication medium available to convince people to quit. At present, a majority of the country’s illiterate population cannot decipher text-based warnings, and as such, remains oblivious of the deleterious consequences of tobacco use. Moreover, it is interesting to note that while picture-based warnings are determined by the Ministry of Health, the cost of the intervention is borne by tobacco companies. Such warnings are synonymous to mini-billboards that work 24/7.

    Coming to the size of the health warning, we have examples of countries like Australia, New Zealand and Cook Islands, where the average front-back size of the warning covers 60 per cent of the pack; followed by Belgium and Switzerland (56%), Finland and Kyrgyzstan (52%) and 18 other countries (50%). In Pakistan, these warnings will cover 40% of the front and back of cigarette packs (30% being pictorial and 10% textual).

    The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) recommends that these warnings should cover 50% or more of the principal display area but shall be no less than 30% of the principal display area. The key objectives governing the introduction of health warnings are to inform consumers of the harmful effects of tobacco and to reduce consumption.

    Studies show that smokers are not aware of or underestimate the health effects of tobacco use. In 1999, before the introduction of picture-based warnings in Canada, only one-third of smokers could recall that heart attacks and emphysema are caused by smoking. In Cuba in 1999, 17% of doctors and 20% of nurses who smoked believed that smoking caused more benefits than harm. In the US in 1995, only 39% of heavy smokers believed they had a higher risk of heart attack and only 49% believed they had a higher risk of cancer.

    Real-world evidence from Canada and Singapore substantiates the usefulness of picture-based warnings to influence its consumers to quit. In Canada, 58% of the smokers thought more about the health effects of smoking as a result of the warnings; 44% said the warnings had increased their motivation to quit; and 27% of the smokers smoked less inside of their home as a result of the warnings.

    In Singapore, 71% of the smokers said they knew more about the health effects of smoking as a result of the warnings; 28% said they smoked fewer cigarettes as a result of the warnings; and 14% said they avoided smoking in front of children as a result of the warnings.

    With picture-based warnings finally becoming a reality in Pakistan, it would be useful for the WHO to support, in due course of time, similar studies to measure the impact of these warnings on smokers and non-smokers alike in this country.
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  2. sparklingway
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    Tobacco kills 100,000 every year in Pakistan
    Smoking a shisha for an hour was the same as smoking 100 cigarettes, warned Dr Suleman Haque, Consultant Chest Physician, Aga Khan University Hospital.—Reuters/File
    Thursday, 28 May, 2009

    KARACHI: Pakistan should implement already existing anti-tobacco laws to protect people from the tobacco epidemic, especially as the country has signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control — requiring signatories to post ‘health warnings describing the harmful effects of tobacco use’ on cigarette packets and recommending that pictures form part of the warnings.

    This is what experts recommended at a seminar organised by Aga Khan University (AKU) in collaboration with the Pakistan Chest Society, the National Alliance for Tobacco Control and Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) to commemorate World No Tobacco Day and its 2009 theme ‘Tobacco Health Warnings,’ APP reports.

    ‘Health warnings that include pictures have been proven to motivate cigarette smokers to quit and to positively impact those still not addicted,’ said Professor Javaid Khan, Head of Pulmonary Medicine, AKU.

    Professor Khan said that around 100,000 deaths occur from tobacco use annually in Pakistan and over half of the adult population is addicted to it in some form or the other.

    He made a strong call for immediate introduction of picture warnings on cigarette boxes, asserting that this would lead to a very positive impact on smokers and especially young people.

    On similar lines, Shahzad Alam from WHO recommended that health warnings should have strong, clear language and must include pictures highlighting the health risk associated with tobacco use.

    President PIMA Dr. Sohail Akhtar, pointed out that at the time of the Prophet (PBUH) tobacco was not available or used in that part of the world. Nevertheless, a number of general principles were laid down from which many laws are derived.

    Second-hand smoke is an already proven risk factor for chronic obstructive lung disease, lung cancer, asthma as well as heart attacks.

    Drawing on this, Consultant Chest Physician, Aga Khan University Hospital Dr Suleman Haque, said that lung cancer is the number one cause of deaths from cancer in Pakistani men and over 90per cent of such cases are the direct result of tobacco use.

    He called for the retraction of the Ministry of Health’s statutory regulatory order which allows smoking at designated places in enclosed public areas, including hotels and restaurants, once again.

    Citing an AKU research study conducted last year, Dr. Haque said that over half of Karachi’s university students were smoking tobacco through a shisha or water pipe; smoking a shisha for an hour was the same as smoking 100 cigarettes, he warned.

    The role of health professionals in anti-tobacco campaigns cannot be over-emphasised: PMA President Dr. Aziz Khan and Head, Department of Chest Diseases, JPMC Dr. Nadeem Rizvi, both highlighted the role of family physicians in helping patients quit smoking.
    Dr. Rizvi said that all doctors are morally bound to educate the public on health-related issues. Research shows that even brief, three-minute counselling by doctors on quitting smoking can bring about significant results.

    It was unfortunate, he said, that tobacco use, gutka and pan masala form is on the rise, especially among children, resulting in a higher incidence of head, neck and mouth cancers.

    Pakistan currently tops the global list of incidence rates for oral cancer.

    An estimated 1,500 young people a day take up smoking, helped by aggressive marketing by tobacco companies.

    Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine at AKU Dr Muhammad Irfan, said that city governments need to initiate an education campaign on tobacco and its hazards in schools and colleges and appealed for implementing the existing laws clearly prohibiting sale of tobacco products within 50 metres of educational institutions.

    Dow University of Health Sciences’ medical student Owais Khan, representing SPASM—Students Promoting Anti-Smoking Measures—called for medical school curricula to include tobacco control and smoking cessation as a subject.

    In the end, prizes were awarded to winners of a poster competition on Tobacco Health Warnings.
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  3. sparklingway
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    sparklingway PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    Not for the faint hearted, but here are some global examples. I've seen our recommendations and they aren't so graphic (black lung, gangrene foot only).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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  4. Trichy
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    Trichy FULL MEMBER

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    Good Cause for Young generation and their successors.

    Great going friends...

    In India also the Signs are posted in the packs of cigarette, Pan, Gupta etc...
  5. secularguy
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    secularguy BANNED

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    Moreover ,it is banned to smoke in Public(in most states of India).Incidentally ,In Kerala the Smoking has gone down drastically,I believe.But ,Yeah they are the toppers in taking Liquor.
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  6. BeyondLoud
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    There's something that I didn't know :lol: When did this ban take place?
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  7. Durran3
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    Durran3 FULL MEMBER

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    They forgot to add Impotence in there to.. lol
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  8. ek_indian
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    ek_indian SENIOR MEMBER

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    Good move by Pakistan. :tup:
  9. UmairP
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    UmairP SENIOR MEMBER

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    Oh man!! thats extreme. I am quitting :P
  10. Dr.Evil
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    Dr.Evil BANNED

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    This is a brilliant adv. by NHS for their Anri-smoking Campaign.

    This should scare the **** out of Men.

    [video=metacafe;115545/smoking_causes_impotence/]http://www.metacafe.com/watch/115545/smoking_causes_impotence/[/video]
  11. pak-marine
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    pak-marine SENIOR MEMBER

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    thats some real graphic stuff, i remember i saw this advert on tv and the campaign was to use shock and disgust adds . Made me feel so sick that i really quit smoking for apx 2 months.
  12. sparklingway
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    sparklingway PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    Check the second batch from Spain. Second row, second from left.
  13. Aether
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    Aether PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    lol - Impotencia (Impotent) :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:

    @ topic

    great news for Pakistan
  14. Evil Flare
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    Evil Flare SENIOR MEMBER

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    Thank God I dont smoke cigrattes ..

    Indian Tobacco only .... :D
  15. Huzafa
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    eCig - Electronic Cigarette Available in Pakistan.
    Traditional Smoking of Tobacco in Pakistan is on the peak. Every second person is inhaling more than 4000 toxic chemicals with one drag of cigarette including Tar and tobacco. Tobacco cigarettes were accepted by people and society just a few decades ago, but after medical research was conducted it was found that they do more harm than good. Similarly, the ecig gained much fame and controversy from the day they were made available to the market. But the question remains: which one is better, the electronic cigarette or the tobacco cigarette?

    ecig:victory:
    0346-5111117