ISLAMABAD: Human Development Foundation (HDF) has urged the government to introduce plain packaging and enhance size of graphic health warning on tobacco packs.

In a press release, HDF praised the government that in line with the guidelines of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) of World Health Organisation, the size of graphic health warning on cigarette packs has been increased from 50 to 60 per cent of the pack.

HDF Chief Executive Officer Azhar Saleem said that different countries used 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 especially among youth, brands in cigarettes are associated with social status and style/fashion icon,” he said.

He 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.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2019