Pictorial Health Warnings on Cigarette Packets

Tobacco Control laws in Pakistan have covered two streams of tobacco use & control:

(I) The Prohibition of Smoking in Enclosed Places and Protection of Non-smokers Health Ordinance, 2002 [link], aided by subsequent rules & SROs, governs multiple areas of tobacco control, including restrictions on public smoking, sales to minors, and tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship;

(II) the Cigarettes (Printing of Warning) Ordinance, 1979 [link], effectively requires that health warnings be printed on tobacco product packaging;

Two SROs have subsequently been issued :
(i) SRO dated 29.1.2015 which is basically to ensure no design features on cigarette packs contributes towards the effectiveness of health warning in any manner [link]
(ii) SRO dated 19.12.2017 which has re-set the size of warning messages as 50% atleast both sides [link]

Both these ‘Federal’ laws stand applicable to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as are covered in 18th Constitutional amendment gazette notified in April 2010 – wherein Article 270-AA Para (6) states that: “Notwithstanding omission of the Concurrent Legislative List by the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010, all laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the said List (including Ordinances, Orders, rules, bye-laws, regulations and notifications and other legal instruments having the force of law) in force in Pakistan or any part thereof, or having extra-territorial operation, immediately before the commencement of the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010, shall continue to remain in force until altered, repealed or amended by the competent authority.”  https://pakistanconstitutionlaw.com/article-270aa-validation-of-laws/

The only attempt to have a provincial law was made in 2016 by Health Department KP when a Bill titled, “the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Prohibition of Tobacco and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Act, 2016” was got vetted, approved through Cabinet and introduced in the Provincial Assembly [link], however it never saw the light of day thereafter and never came up for voting;

Section 7 sub-section (2) of the Cigarettes (Printing of Warning) Ordinance, 1979 is crystal on how cognizance of offences will be taken – its an Assistant Sub-Inspector, an Excise Officer not below the rank of a Sub-Inspector or any other officer authorized on this behalf by the Federal Government;

Importantly, after the 18th Constitutional Amendment this being a provincial law till we either approve our own Act, amend or repeal it, for all purposes the portion “or any other officer authorized on this behalf” is the exclusive power of the Provincial Government.

The Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mr Naveed Kamran Baloch took special interest in this, kindled surely during his stint as Federal Secretary for Health Regulations too & directed for
i. The Secretary Excise & Taxation to issue instructions and detailed guidelines to his field formations authorizing his officers from Director General till Sub-Inspector [or equivalent] clearly indicating to them the provisions of Ordinance of 1979 read with SROs dated 29.1.2015 & 19.12.2017 regarding the health warning size etc – and directing them to raid sale / manufacturing points in routine with other raids, as well as special cases, and ensure enforcement. Wherever they note an offence, they should make complaint as provided in Section 7 sub-section (2) of the Ordinance;

ii. Secretary Home for communication to Police Department for similar necessary action as above;

iii. Both above Departments may share their monthly reports with, amongst others, the Federal Ministry DG & the “Tobacco Control Cell” in DG Health Office, KP on how many raids/checking, offences noted, warnings issued, cases instituted in relevant Court etc;

iv. Health Department to move summary to Provincial Cabinet to authorize  Tehsildars and above officers till Deputy Commissioners in Districts for making complaints under Section 7 of the Ordinance.

v.  Information Department may give this initiative proper publicity  on electronic, print and social media – especially as a deterrence and warning to the cigarette producers within territorial jurisdiction of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Letter of PSO to Chief Secretary KP