Sept 23, 2009
Pakistan’s tobacco lobby may force the government to delay its decision over cigarette packs carrying pictorial health warnings, sources in the Health Ministry said on Sunday.
On World No Tobacco Day on May 31, the government had announced the introduction of pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs and had given the industry a six-month deadline to print them from January 1, 2010. However, soon after the announcement, the tobacco industry held a number of meetings with senior Health Ministry officials to attempt to reverse or delay the implementation of pictorial warnings. The ministry had started work on legislation for introduction of warnings on cigarette packs in consultation with the Ministry of Law, but the tobacco lobby is busy trying to delay the process.
Examples: The industry contended that it could not print the warnings within six months and quoted examples of Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Romania and India, which took more than two years to publish the pictorial warnings on cigarette packs. The picture-based health warnings are particularly significant for countries like Pakistan with poor literacy rate and inadequacy of resources for public health education, and where majority of the people cannot read warnings and remain oblivious to the harmful effects of tobacco use. By introducing pictorial warnings, Pakistan would join 30 countries having similar warnings. Pakistan is signatory to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which binds more than 160 countries to use large, clear, visible and legible warnings on packs and outer packaging.
Full Article: Pakistan’s Daily Times (September 21, 2009)
Sept 11, 2009
The Australian Government’s Preventative Health Taskforce’s ‘National Preventative Health Strategy’ was released on Tuesday 1st September and contains recommendations on tobacco, alcohol and obesity. The report identified, further regulations on packaging among its key recommendations including action to”Eliminate promotion of tobacco products through design of packaging.” The report recommends “plain packaging,” as described below:
“…there can be no justification for allowing any form of promotion for this uniquely dangerous and addictive product which it is illegal to sell to children. ‘Plain packaging’ entails prohibiting brand imagery, colours, corporate logos and trademarks, and permitting manufacturers only to print the brand name in a mandated size, font and place, in addition to required health warnings and other legally mandated product information such as toxic constituents, tax-paid seals or package contents. A standard cardboard texture would be mandatory, and the size and shape of the package and cellophane wrapper would also be prescribed.”
The National Preventative Health Strategy provides a blueprint for tackling the burden of chronic disease currently caused by obesity, tobacco, and excessive consumption of alcohol. The Strategy’s recommendations are directed at primary prevention and will address all relevant arms of policy and all available points of leverage, in both the health and non-health sectors.
Full Article: Australian Government Department of Health and Aging (September 1, 2009)
Sept 2, 2009
Two pieces of legislation that dramatically increase smoking fines and crack down on tobacco companies have been signed into law, the National Council Against Smoking said on Monday.
The acts also make it illegal for adults to smoke in a car where there is a child under 12, and pave the way for picture warnings such as diseased lungs on cigarette packs…
Full article: News24.com (August 31, 2009)