Global Epidemic



  • In Pakistan, 19 percent of adults (age 18+) smoke tobacco.
  • Almost one-third (32 percent of men and 6 percent of women smoke.
  • Among youth (age 13-15) in Islamabad, 1 percent smoke cigarettes (boys 2 percent; girls 0.6 percent) and 9.5 percent use tobacco products other than cigarettes (boys 11 percent; girls 7 percent).
  • Common forms of tobacco used include cigarettes, hookah and smokeless products such as paan, ghutka and naswar.

Health Consequences

  • Each year, approximately 110,000 people die from tobacco-related diseases in Pakistan.
  • Among youth (age 13-15), 34 percent report being exposed to secondhand smoke in public places and 27 percent report exposure at home.

Tobacco Industry

Pakistan Tobacco Co Ltd, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, held 51 percent of the cigarette market in 2008 and Lakson Tobacco Co Ltd, fully owned by Philip Morris International, held about 40 percent of the market. In Pakistan, more than 76 billion cigarettes were sold in 2008.

FCTC Status

Pakistan ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on November 3, 2004.

Tobacco Control Policy Status

Smoke Free Places: Smoking is prohibited in a "place of public work or use" and on public transport. The 2002 Ordinance allows the government to issue guidelines for designated smoking areas in “places of public work or use.” However, a subsequent SRO requires all such places to be 100% smoke free. Not all enclosed workplaces and enclosed public places are covered under the law, because it only includes places accessible to the general public.

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship: There are few restrictions on advertising and promotion in Pakistan. Print advertising is prohibited, except for advertisements less than one square inch in the inside portion of publications that are not intended for young people. TV and radio advertising is limited to the hours between 3:00 am and 4:00 am. Billboards and other outdoor print media may not exceed 1 square meter. Most other forms of advertising and promotion are allowed. All permitted advertising must be accompanied by a health warning. Although financial or other sponsorship by the tobacco industry is allowed, publicity of the sponsorship of events is prohibited.

Tobacco Packaging and Labeling: The Ministry of Health has issued one warning containing both a picture and text that must be placed on all cigarette packs. The warning must occupy 40 percent of the pack and be placed on the front of the pack in Urdu and on the back of the pack in English. Misleading packaging and labeling including terms, descriptors, or any other signs that imply one product is less harmful than another is not prohibited. Health warnings are not required on smokeless tobacco products.

Tobacco Taxation and Prices: The World Health Organization recommends raising tobacco excise taxes so that they account for at least 70 percent of retail prices. Tobacco excise taxes in Pakistan are well below these recommendations.

Updated: April 2014