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Pakistan, despite being a country with elaborative tobacco control laws, has failed to ensure the implementation of these laws. With violation of other vital tobacco control laws, the sale of cigarettes to minors is the most worrisome. You can go to any cigarette seller on the street and witness that despite restrictions, cigarettes are being promoted, sold at lower than regulated prices and sold to minors. This is mainly due to the fact that half of the market consists of illicit and illegal sales of cigarettes. According to the country’s laws, manufacturers and importers of cigarettes in Pakistan are required to write in bold letters on the side panel of each pack of cigarettes sold in the country that “The sale of cigarettes to persons below 18 years of age is prohibited.”

Almost 166,000 people are dying from smoking in Pakistan every year. Cigarette companies are encouraging young people to smoke. The Ministry of Health has revealed that about 1,200 children between the ages of 6 and 15 are addicted to smoking on a daily basis. Health Minister’s revelation is enough to illustrate the devastating effects of the illicit sale of cigarettes that encourage young people to smoke. It is imperative that laws prohibiting the sale of open cigarettes and cigarettes to youth must be strictly enforced.

Abu Bakar Kareem (Karachi)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021