Ban on Online Advertisements and Sale of Tobacco Products required to Save Pakistani Youth

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ISLAMABAD, (Parliament Times): Society for the Protection of the Rights of Child (SPARC) organized an interactive session on “Social Media’s influence on sale & advertisement of modern tobacco products” on Friday. The purpose of this interactive session was to reach out to social media influencers to expose the tactics of tobacco industry’s deceptive social media campaigns. Mr. Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Head Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) said that according to statistical data, about 1200 children initiate smoking each day in Pakistan. Tobacco industry is utilizing social media to promote their innovative products and manipulate children and adolescents into buying these harmful products.

Children are being attracted by tobacco industry’s tricks because of newly introduced ways of advertisement and involvement of celebrities. The responsibility falls onto the govt. to ban advertisement and sale of all kinds of new tobacco products to children to save the future of our children. Dr. Zia Uddin Islam, Country Lead (Vital Strategies) shared that, ratio of young smokers in Pakistan is only increasing due to the absence of check and balance on online advertisements and sale of innovative tobacco products. Industry has given children easy access to these dangerously addictive new tobacco products everywhere in the country. Only possible way to erase tobacco popularity among children is to ban all sorts of sale to children and advertisements especially on social media. Khalil Ahmed, Program Manager (SPARC) mentioned that, the tobacco industry is hunting for new buyers and children seem much of an easy target to entrap. The online advertisements on tobacco products gives the industry a huge platform to manipulate children by gaining their attention on social media. Govt. should take notice of these vast online advertisements and save our children as the future of our country depends on them. Event was attended by renowned youth influencers who appreciated SPARC’s efforts and made commitments to produce content on tobacco control as their contribution towards tobacco-free and healthy future for Pakistani children.

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