After many countries Pakistan regulates alternative tobacco product

  • Heated tobacco products considered less harmful as compared to ordinary cigarettes
  • ISLAMABAD: As the world is moving forward to control and reduce the harmfulness of tobacco/cigarette through adopting alternatives, Pakistan, for the first time, has also regulated the heated tobacco product, which is comparatively considered less harmful. The federal cabinet has recently approved a summary related to regulating the alternative tobacco product.

Through the new product, which has been adopted and marketed in many developed countries, including the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Japan, New Zealand, etc., there will be an alternate option available for the smokers, number of which is reportedly increasing alarmingly.

According to officials at the Ministry of Health, the summary related to regularizing heated tobacco products (HTPs) was forwarded for approval from competent bodies after examining that the alternative to cigarettes was in the interest of public health. According to them, heated tobacco products, as approved in many foreign countries after various tests, are scientifically proven to be 95% less harmful than ordinary cigarettes.

“Though even the less harmful product is discouraged to be used by the new smokers, it will only be recommended for existing smokers who, if they do not leave, can switch to less risky alternatives to combustible cigarettes,” they said.

According to available documents, Japan, once notorious for its alarmingly high number of smokers, has been witnessing a fall in its cigarette sales and consumption since the launch of HTPs in the country. The UK Government is also in the process to regularize e-cigarettes, another type of smoke-free product – England’s National Health Service prescribes these products for smokers who want to quit cigarettes as part of their plan to cut smoking rates in the country.

In Pakistan, around 15 million of its adult population smoke cigarettes, while WHO anticipates the number to exceed one billion across the globe in 2025. Providing them with a choice to switch to smoke-free products that are reportedly less harmful than cigarettes can go a long way in restoring the health of smokers. The legislation in Pakistan has been made as a proper legal framework was required for the responsible information and sale of these products to ensure it benefits public health.

It may be recalled here that various international tobacco firms are making investment into the alternative products however in Pakistan the same is apparently being opposed by those producing illicit cigarettes, which dominate over 40 percent of the domestic market.



Ghulam Abbas
Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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