LAHORE – The participants of a consultative seminar on Monday unanimously recommended 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.

Punjab Health Department in collaboration with World Health Organization organised the seminar on tobacco control. Advisor to CM Saba Sadiq, Special Secretary Health Babar Hayyat Tarar, Director General Health Dr Nisar Ahmad Cheema, representatives from district administration, social welfare and education department participated in the seminar.

The speakers pleaded for implementation of smoke free laws, introduction of rational pictorial health warnings, enforcement of comprehensive ban on tobacco promotions 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.

Saba Sadiq proposed that awareness lecturers and posters exhibition on tobacco use should be arranged in education institutions. She also appreciated crackdown on Sheesha cafes. She said that a resolution should be presented in Punjab Assembly for its approval.

Babar Hayyat Tarrar said that laws existed in Pakistan but implementation was weak. He said that to implement the laws, it was necessary to create awareness among the people so they could abide by these laws.

Shahzad Alam said that tobacco was 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.