ISLAMABAD- Speakers on Friday urged government for plain packaging and enhanced graphic health warning on tobacco packs.

Anti-tobacco activists said this in a session organised by Human Development Foundation (HDF) here.

Activists said that it is indeed praise worthy step on behalf of the government of Pakistan that in alignment with the guidelines of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the size of graphic health warning on cigarette packs has been increased from 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the pack.

Azhar Saleem, CEO HDF, shared that different countries have been using multiple strategies for tobacco control. Health warnings, both pictorial and text on cigarette packs, have been adopted by all FCTC signatory countries which has proven effective in reducing the rate of tobacco consumption.

Moving forward in these efforts, the next step is to adopt plain packaging with enhanced graphic health warnings for all tobacco products.

Countries where plain packaging has been implemented shows that brand appeal among tobacco users decreases.

This decrease in brand appeal helps in reducing the consumption rate as especially among youth, brands in cigarettes are associated with social status and style/fashion icon.

Saleem urged the government to take a step forward in its tobacco eradication efforts by making plain packaging mandatory for all tobacco brands.

He stated that HDF will always support the government in its tobacco control efforts through mass awareness and advocacy campaigns.