KARACHI : A session on simple packaging of tobacco products was organized by the Karachi Institute for the Protection of the Rights of Child (SPARC) Thursday.

Muhammad Kashif Mirza, head of the campaign For Tobacco Free Karachi and Media Manager of SPARC said that 16 countries around the world have adopted simple packaging policy for tobacco products.

In addition many other countries are considering implementation of this policy but unfortunately in Pakistan no progress is being made in this regard, which is a matter of concern. He added that tobacco companies have tried to influence policy-making in several countries and have strongly opposed simple packaging, often through intimidation lawsuits.

However, tobacco companies have lost all their litigation against plain packaging in national and international courts.

Haris Jadoon, a researcher on human rights, said that according to Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2015, almost all children have started smoking by advertising tobacco products in an attractive way. These companies advertise their products near primary and secondary schools, which is highly objectionable.

Shumaila Muzammil outlined the benefits of simple packaging from around the world, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data. “Simple packaging reduces the focus on tobacco products and reduces its use among young people and increases the effectiveness of health warnings that people overlook because of the beautiful packaging,” he said. =DNA