Pakistan needs to ban Novel Tobacco Products and must stop their online sale and advertisement.

by: Nuaman Ishfaq Mughal:
Islamabad: Society for the Protection of the Rights of Child (SPARC) organised an interactive session with social media influencers to address the need to ban the online sale and advertisement of emerging tobacco products. The speakers emphasized that the tobacco industry had been manipulating children and youth into buying novel tobacco products such as e-cigarettes, nicotine pouches and heated tobacco products, through various marketing tactics on social media.
Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Head, of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), shared his concerns that the tobacco industry was using advanced strategies to introduce markets with emerging nicotine and tobacco products.”The tobacco industry is misleading everyone by claiming that novel tobacco products are less harmful and only for smokers who want to quit. However these products are openly promoted online and sold to young and new consumers,” he said.
Dr. Ziauddin Islam, Country Lead Vital Strategies and Former Technical focal Person of the Government of Pakistan for WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC); said that the tobacco industry was polluting the country with the online sale and advertisement of emerging products. He mentioned that around 31 million Pakistanis consumed tobacco and introducing new products would further increase this number.
Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Program Manager, SPARC, said that novel tobacco products such as nicotine pouches, e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products were all readily available for online purchase due to weaker policies regarding online advertisement and sale. Khalil requested the government to recognize the situation as a child rights emergency. “It is the responsibility of policymakers to ensure that no anti-child policy is implemented in the country. Government must ban all kinds of advertisements and sale of such harmful products especially online presence of these products because social media is a huge platform of influence for younger Pakistanis,” he added.