On the Direction of DCO Lahore, the District Government Lahore has started a city wide campaign against sale of illegal cigarettes and other violations in respect of cigarettes. According to sources, majority of the wholesalers and retailers are violating many health regulations while selling cigarettes. According to details, as a first step an awareness campaign which includes pasting of stickers on retail outlets as well placement of posters and banners in the markets has been initiated. The campaign materials inform retailers about 3 specific violations and ask them to refrain from them to avoid punishment.
First is the sale of Cigarette Packets without the Government of Pakistan mandated health warning. As per the Cigarette Printing of Warning Ordinance 1979, all cigarette packets without the Urdu and English textual health warning e.g. “Smoking Causes Mouth Cancer: Ministry of Health” and without the Government mandated pictorial health warning are illegal. However, these type of packets, which are smuggled into the country from Afghanistan, are being sold across the city without any hindrance.
Second is the advertisement of Cigarettes outside the retail/shop premises. As per the health Laws, no one can advertise cigarettes outside the shop. However, it is a common practice to put posters and advertisement material in respect of cigarettes outside shops. Last but not the least is the sale by shopkeepers to minors i.e. persons below the age of 18 which is also prohibited under the law. According to information the first part of the campaign is to warn the shopkeepers violating the laws. If the retailers do not comply with the laws even after the warning, enforcement would be started under the law.
DCO Lahore’s initiative comes at a time when the sale of illegal cigarettes is at its peak. Such initiatives must not only be commended but also replicated in other cities.