Pakistan became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 27, 2005.
Smoke Free Places
Smoking is prohibited in all places of public work or use, and on all public transport. Smoking is permitted in hotel guest rooms. With respect to outdoor areas, smoking is prohibited in outdoor waiting areas for buses and trains. Sub-national jurisdictions may enact smoke free laws that are more stringent than the national law.
Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship
Many forms of tobacco advertising and promotion are prohibited, including advertising on domestic TV, radio, print media, billboards, point of sale advertising and product display, direct targeting of individuals, and retailer incentive programs. Most other forms of advertising and promotion are allowed. There are some restrictions on tobacco sponsorship and the publicity of such sponsorship.
Tobacco Packaging and Labeling
The Ministry of Health has issued one warning containing both a picture and text that must be placed on all cigarette packs. The warning must occupy 60 percent of the pack and be placed on the front top of the pack in Urdu and on the back top of the pack in English. (The increases in size announced in SRO 127(E)/2017 (to 50 percent and, subsequently, 60 percent) replace the 2015 notification (SRO 22(KE)/2015) that would have increased the size to 85 percent of packaging. This notification, however, was delayed several times and, ultimately, never implemented.) Health warnings are not required on smokeless tobacco products.
Cigarette Contents and Disclosures
The law does not grant the authority to regulate the contents of cigarettes. The law does not require that manufacturers and importers disclose to government authorities information on the contents and emissions of their products.
The law prohibits the sale of smoked tobacco products within 50 meters of any school, university, or educational institution, as well as the sale of single cigarettes and small packets of cigarettes. There are no restrictions on the sale of tobacco products via vending machines or the internet. The sale of tobacco products is prohibited to persons under the age of 18.
The retail sale of e-cigarettes is allowed. There are no restrictions on the use; advertising, promotion and sponsorship; or packaging and labeling of e-cigarettes.
Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation
There are two principal ordinances governing tobacco control in Pakistan. Using the powers conferred by the two ordinances, officials in Pakistan have issued a series of SROs (or statutory notifications) to implement, amend, and update its tobacco control laws.
The first principal ordinance is the Cigarettes (Printing of Warning) Ordinance, 1979 (Ordinance No. LXXIII of 1979), which effectively requires that health warnings be printed on tobacco product packaging. SRO 86(KE)/2009 establishes the rules on the printing of warnings. SRO 87(E)/2009 establishes the initial warning text and its accompanying image. Since the promulgation of these SROs, the government has twice altered the length of the rotation period for the health warning. First, the government published SROs 01(KE)/2010 and 02(KE)/2010, delaying implementation of the pictorial health warning from February 1 to May 31, 2010. Second, the Ministry of Health issued a memorandum, No. F. 02-16/2007-FCTC on the Extension of Current Pictorial Health Warning, extending the rotation period to December 31, 2011. By operation of SROs 127(KE)/2017 and 128(KE)/2017, picture and text warnings were required to cover 50 percent of the front and back of all cigarette packs and outer packaging as of June 1, 2018; the size increased to 60 percent as of June 1, 2019. (These increases replace a 2015 notification (SRO 22(KE)/2015) that would have increased the size to 85 percent. This notification, however, was delayed several times and, ultimately, never implemented.)
The second principal ordinance, the Prohibition of Smoking in Enclosed Places and Protection of Non-smokers Health Ordinance, 2002 (Ordinance No. LXXIV of 2002), governs multiple areas of tobacco control, including restrictions on public smoking, sales to minors, and tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Several other pieces of legislation augment the terms of this primary ordinance. With regard to smoke free policies, the Motor Vehicles Ordinance, 1965 provides the definition of “public service vehicle,” a definition used in the 2002 Ordinance’s ban of the use of tobacco products in vehicles meeting that definition. In addition, SRO 653(I)/2003 lists additional places as “places of the public work or use” to be included in that ban on the use of tobacco products and SRO 51(KE)/2009 requires all of such places to be 100% smoke free.
In terms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, SRO 655(I)/2003 establishes the Committee on Tobacco Advertisement Guidelines. The Committee issued advertisement guidelines in Notification F.13-5/2003, SRO 882(I)/2007, SRO 53(KE)/2009, SRO 1086(I)/2013, and, most recently, SRO 72(I)/2020. Also in exercise of the powers conferred in the 2002 Ordinance, SRO 863(I)/2010 established the Prohibition of Sale of Cigarettes to Minors Rules, 2010. These rules place duties on manufacturers, importers, and retail sellers to take steps to protect against targeting minors and the sale of cigarettes to minors. Finally, SRO 654(I)/2003 and SRO 277(I)/2011 identify those individuals who are authorized to enforce the 2002 Ordinance.