ISLAMABAD: Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination’s (NHSRC) Tobacco Control Cell (TCC) has launched a pilot advocacy campaign against tobacco in cinema theatres across the country in collaboration with Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC).
According to a statement, two tobacco control messages “Alive” and “Sponge” have been disseminated to all cinema theatres through CPFC, Islamabad to air/ broadcast them during their shows regularly.
The 30-second “Sponge” ad-graphically depicts how cigarette smoke causes preventable diseases and premature death. The ad compares a smoker’s lungs with a sponge.
It graphically shows how a smoker’s lungs soak up the poisons found in tobacco smoke, which collect in the lungs as cancer-causing tar.
The amount of tar generated by a pack a day smoker, every year, is enough to fill a beaker. The ad lists the diseases associated with tobacco use and urges smokers to “Quit Today!”
It is expected that approximately 3,000 people may watch these anti-tobacco messages daily.
It may be recalled that the TCC and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) have already been working to institutionalise mass media campaigns through their regulatory system.
Over the past 12 months, TCC, in coordination with the PEMRA, has distributed two tobacco control mass media campaigns of public service messages to media networks. An independent media monitoring agency supported by Vital Strategies found that “Sponge” aired over 1,100 times on TV channels in Pakistan.
Parallel to this, coverage of tobacco control messages has been expanded through community-based channels, including the installation of billboards and posters featuring messages in hospital and health centres in Rawalpindi and all provincial capitals across the country.
Tobacco Control Cell has also recently notified new pictorial health warning – 50 per cent of the front and back of all cigarettes packs and outers, with a move to enhance and change the warnings to 60 per cent by June 2019.
Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of death in the world. In Pakistan, tobacco is a cause of death of around 108,800 persons every year. This is 298 deaths per day.
Population-level tobacco control communication programmes are helpful in curbing tobacco epidemic and saving lives of people of the country.