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Ministry of Health issued show cause to Philip Morris for violating Pakistan’s laws

Islamabad: Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination has issued notices to Philip Morris Pakistan, a multinational cigarette manufacturer for violating laws related to cigarette advertising and promotions.
According to officials of health ministry, Philip Morris Pakistan is involved in offering prize schemes, placement of cigarette promotional posters and other material inside and outside of point of sales, branded clothing and targeting consumers directly for the promotion of their new cigarette brand “Crafted by Marlboro”. These promotional campaigns are the clear violation of laws and various regulatory directives issued by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination.
Taking notice of the blatant violations of anti-smoking laws by Philip Morris and various local cigarette manufacturers, Dr. Nadeem Jan, health minister directed officials to initiate legal actions against the companies involved in the violations.
Tobacco Control Cell has issued notice to Philip Morris Pakistan for violating tobacco advertisement guidelines issued under section 7 of the “Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-smokers Health Ordinance 2002”.
According to the notice, Philip Morris is violating tobacco advertisement guideline issued by Government of Pakistan and the multinational cigarette manufacturer is directed to submit a written reply within 10 days of the issuance of notice. After 10 days legal action can be taken against the cigarette manufacturer by the Government of Pakistan.
In case of legal action, top management of cigarette manufacturer can be fined up to Rs. 100,000 or imprisonment up to three months as per Pakistan’s laws.
Pakistan has completely banned tobacco advertising and cigarette manufacturing companies cannot offer cash prizes, any kind of incentives or gifts to enhance sales. Tobacco advertisement, promotion through branding on garments and cloths, caps, direct targeting of individuals through third party surveys, research or third party marketing is also banned as per SRO 72(1)/2020, issued by Government of Pakistan.
According to Jacek Olczak, Chief Executive Officer of Philip Morris International, PMI mission is to reduce smoking by replacing cigarettes with less harmful alternatives and ultimately to make cigarettes obsolete.
But in Pakistan, Phillip Morris is doing opposite to its mission by doing illegal promotional campaigns of its cigarette brands and targeting youth of Pakistan. Anti-tobacco advocates strongly criticized Phillip Morris for targeting youth by illegal ways and urged Government of Pakistan to take strict legal action against the cigarette manufacturer.

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