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Smoking in Pakistan

There has been a very slight downwards trend in current smoking prevalence in the general population in Pakistan. In 2000 the overall prevalence was estimated to be just under 23%; this reduced to 19% in 2015, with a projection to decrease slightly further to 18.6% by 2025. The trend for men's smoking prevalence has been downwards, from 37% to 35% between 2000 and 2015, and is projected to stay at roughly this level by 2025 according to WHO trend data. By contrast, women's smoking during the same period decreased from 8% in 2000 to 3% in 2015, and is projected to be 1.4% by 2025. The WHO published prevalence trend estimates in tobacco smoking, as shown here, in their 2018 2nd edition report, which show slightly different smoking prevalence to the WHO country profiles. Data for the estimates are not age standardised, and were obtained from WHO databases. The trend lines are projections, not predictions, of future attainment. A projection indicates a likely endpoint if the country maintains its tobacco control efforts at the same level that it has implemented them to date. Therefore the impact of recent interventions could alter the expected endpoint shown in the projection. While the methods of estimation used in the first and second editions of the WHO report are the same, the volume of data available for the second edition is larger i.e. 200 more national surveys. The results presented are therefore more robust.

Read articles from Pakistan

January 30, 2024 by

KP govt urged to put ban on e-cigarettes, vapes

PESHAWAR - Public Health Stakeholders of Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa on Monday called for unanimous and aggressive efforts to permanently ban the use and sale of e-cigarettes and vapes in the province for the best interest of public health and sustainable tobacco control. Blue Veins, a civil society organ­isation, conducted a public health stakeholder consultation to delib­erate on the interim ban by the KP government on vapes and e-ciga­rettes.

January 25, 2024 by

Urgent Regulations Needed for Tobacco Harm-Reduction Products in Pakistan

Supporting the decision to ban the sale of e-cigarettes and vapes to minors in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Alternative Research Initiative (ARI) reiterated its call for sensibly regulating tobacco harm-reduction products in Pakistan.

August 28, 2023 by

More teens blowing away life in puffs of e-cigarettes, study warns

Despite having sufficient knowledge about the potential health risks associated with nicotine exposure, an increasing number of young people are getting hooked on e-cigarettes, smoking devices that are powered by a battery, says a study recently published in an online journal. Over 800 individuals with mean age 29.6 years participated in the study during which 43.4 per cent respondents reported using e-cigarettes. “This is significantly higher than a 2017 study conducted among adolescents when prevalence of e-cigarettes was just 24 per cent. The current study also found that the mean age at which people start using e-cigarettes is 17 years and that 58 per cent of people believe smoking makes young people look ‘cool’,” it says.

September 05, 2022 by

Health activists underscore media’s role to save youth from harmful emerging Tobacco products

Media can play a strong role to counter the deceptive campaigns of tobacco industry to promote harmful emerging tobacco products in Pakistani youth, health activists said during a consultation organized by Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC).

The health activists and the senior journalists explored the need to ban emerging products such as nicotine pouches, e-cigarettes and heated tobacco devices, as they are becoming increasingly popular among Pakistani youth due to elaborate advertisement and promotional campaigns, said in a press release issued here on Sunday.

May 11, 2021 by

‘Higher cigarettes prices lead to quit smoking’

Islamabad : A 50 per cent increase in price would lead to the same amount of reduction in cigarette demand in Pakistan as majority of smokers would prefer to quit instead of switching to other brands.


This is revealed in a research study, ‘Switch, Reduce or Quit: How do smokers respond to tobacco tax increases in Pakistan,’ carried out by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in Islamabad.

May 10, 2021 by

A smoker’s right to choose better health

Pakistan is one of 15 countries worldwide with a heavy burden of tobacco-related ill-health. Despite considerable tobacco control efforts, the smoking incidence in the country is not decreasing fast enough. Which is why tobacco harm reduction needs to be an additional measure complementary to the existing tobacco control efforts in the country. Advances in science and technology have enabled the development of better alternatives to smoking, presenting a huge opportunity for improving public health, if acted upon.

March 26, 2021 by

New drugs meant to trap young generation, especially girls

New drugs that are getting increasingly popular among youth, especially girls, are as damaging as cigarettes and government need to utilize all its resources to ban such products that are openly available in the market. The views were expressed at a meeting of a delegation of anti-tobacco activists with Chairperson National Commission for Child Rights Afshan Tehseen Bajwa on Wednesday. [...] They said that the use of nicotine pouches continues to increase in the younger generation which dangerous for their health. They warned that younger generation, especially girls, are being pushed towards using a new brand using nicotine pouches.

February 09, 2021 by

Govt urged to increase FED on tobacco products

Tobacco control activists demand that the government shall increase FED on tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco products, in Pakistan. Currently, there are two tax slabs for cigarettes. An amount of Rs33 FED is imposed on cigarettes costing less than Rs90 per packet and Rs90 on cigarettes with a price of Rs90 and above. However, these taxes are still below the standard set by World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to which Pakistan is a signatory since 2005. FCTC requires signatories to optimally impose a 75% tax on the retail price of cigarette packs. [...]

October 27, 2020 by

Tobacco Harm Reduction

Tobacco harm reduction (THR) is a health strategy implemented to curtail the risks associated with tobacco products to users and society at large. The concept of THR dates back to 1976 when Professor Michael Russell, also considered the father of tobacco harm reduction, stated that people smoke for nicotine but they die from the tar. Russell’s advocacy that the ratio of tar to nicotine could be the key to a less harmful smoking experience has served as a stencil for strategies implemented against tobacco harm by health organizations today.

October 26, 2020 by

Global review on use of e-cigarettes as anti-smoking aid sparks debate in Pakistan

Islamabad : Even though a belated development, medical professionals and representatives of tobacco control entities in Pakistan have finally broken the silence around whether e-cigarettes (ECs) should be promoted as effective anti-smoking aids for smokers attempting to quit. The impetus to discuss the use of ECs for smoking cessation—a subject mired in controversy—came from the recently released Cochrane Review which provides “moderate-certainty evidence” that nicotine containing ECs are 70% more effective in supporting smokers to quit as compared to nicotine-free ECs, and even Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). [...]