Cabinet regularize heated tobacco products

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet on the request of the Ministry of Health has regularized heated tobacco products.

As per the details, the Federal Cabinet in the last meeting ratified the decisions of Cabinet Committee on legislative cases.

The CCLC on December 1, 2022 had approved five agenda items including the Ministry of Health summary with regard to approval of SRO on Heated Tobacco Products.

Meanwhile, the Anti- Tobacco activists have claimed that regularization of heated tobacco products will put Pakistani children in grave danger.

Country Head Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Malik Imran Ahmed stated that this decision will play as a gateway to legalize other tobacco products such as e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches.

This decision will also encourage more females and children between the ages of 13-15 to initiate tobacco use because of easy availability, in result it will cause more diseases and deaths. About 170,000 people die annually because of tobacco-induced diseases in Pakistan. 

Tobacco use has become a pandemic in Pakistan with over 31 million people consuming tobacco in some form. More Pakistani children will be exposed to tobacco and be hooked on if no steps are taken against this industry which is trying to destroy the future of our children.

Dr. Zia Uddin Islam country lead, Vital Strategies, expressed that modern forms of nicotine based products launched by tobacco industry are addictive and can cause long-term health hazards to young users. 

These products attract the attention of children because of their vast online presence and promotion. He mentioned that the health burden has increased because of tobacco induced non-communicable diseases and allowing modern products will only jack up national healthcare costs which is devastating for the economy.

Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Program Manager (SPARC), said that securing the health and future of Pakistani children should be the top priority for the government at times like these when our economy and health system is struggling. 

Pakistan can learn from the example of New Zealand which has become the first country to implement an annually rising legal age of smoking. This long-term planning is required to ensure that our future generations remain protected from the harms of tobacco.

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