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Pakistan became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 27, 2005.

Smoke Free Places: Smoking is prohibited in all places of public work or use, and on all public transport. Smoking is permitted in hotel guest rooms. With respect to outdoor areas, smoking is prohibited in outdoor waiting areas for buses and trains. Sub-national jurisdictions may enact smoke free laws that are more stringent than the national law. 

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship: Many forms of tobacco advertising and promotion are prohibited, including advertising on domestic TV, radio, billboards, and in print media. Most other forms of advertising and promotion are allowed. There are some restrictions on tobacco sponsorship and the publicity of such sponsorship.

Tobacco Packaging and Labeling: The Ministry of Health has issued one warning containing both a picture and text that must be placed on all cigarette packs. The warning must occupy 40 percent of the pack and be placed on the front top of the pack in Urdu and on the back top of the pack in English. The law does not provide for the rotation of the health warnings. Health warnings are not required on smokeless tobacco products. Beginning March 30, 2015, picture and text warnings must be placed on 85 percent of the front and back of all cigarette packs.

Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation: There are two principal ordinances governing tobacco control in Pakistan. Using the powers conferred by the two ordinances, officials in Pakistan have issued a series of SROs (or statutory notifications) to implement, amend, and update its tobacco control laws. 

The first principal ordinance is the Cigarettes (Printing of Warning) Ordinance, 1979 (Ordinance No. LXXIII of 1979), which effectively requires that health warnings be printed on tobacco product packaging. SRO 86(KE)/2009 establishes the current rules on the printing of warnings. SRO 87(E)/2009 establishes the current warning text and its accompanying image. Since the promulgation of these SROs, the government has twice altered the length of the rotation period for the current health warning. First, the government published SROs 01(KE)/2010 and 02(KE)/2010, delaying implementation of the graphic health warning from February 1 to May 31, 2010. Second, the Ministry of Health issued a memorandum, No. F. 02-16/2007-FCTC on the Extension of Current Pictorial Health Warning, extending the current rotation period up to December 31, 2011. SROs 22(KE)/2015 and 23(KE)/2015 increases the size of the health warning to eighty-five percent of both front and back of cigarette packages. Additionally, the SROs prescribe rules regarding the rotation, manner, look, and design of the single health warning.

The second principal ordinance, the Prohibition of Smoking in Enclosed Places and Protection of Non-smokers Health Ordinance, 2002 (Ordinance No. LXXIV of 2002), governs multiple areas of tobacco control, including restrictions on public smoking, sales to minors, and tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Several other pieces of legislation augment the terms of this primary ordinance. With regard to smoke free policies, the Motor Vehicles Ordinance, 1965 provides the definition of “public service vehicle,” a definition used in the 2002 Ordinance’s ban of the use of tobacco products in vehicles meeting that definition. In addition, SRO 653(I)/2003 lists additional places as "places of the public work or use" to be included in that ban on the use of tobacco products and SRO 51(KE)/2009 requires all of such places to be 100% smoke free. In terms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, SRO 655(I)/2003 establishes the Committee on Tobacco Advertisement Guidelines. The Committee issued advertisement guidelines in Notification F.13-5/2003, SRO 882(I)/2007, SRO 53(KE)/2009, and, most recently, SRO 1086(I)/2013. Also in exercise of the powers conferred in the 2002 Ordinance, SRO 863(I)/2010 established the Prohibition of Sale of Cigarettes to Minors Rules, 2010. These rules place duties on manufacturers, importers, and retail sellers to take steps to protect against targeting minors and the sale of cigarettes to minors. Finally, SRO 654(I)/2003 and SRO 277(I)/2011 identify those individuals who are authorized to enforce the 2002 Ordinance.  

Review Status

This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.

Last updated: March 6th 2015
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