Objectives: In order to limit the high prevalence of tobacco use in Pakistan various tobacco control laws have been implemented. The objective of this study is to serve as a pilot study to assess the implementation of these laws in the largest city of Pakistan, Karachi.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Karachi. The implementation of tobacco control laws in 'smoke-free' places, the adherence of tobacco companies to these laws, the regulation of cigarette sale, and the awareness and views of the general public regarding tobacco control laws were assessed via direct observation by visits and through self-administered questionnaires.
Results: The implementation of tobacco control laws in 'smoke-free' public places was found to be poor. Out of 37, only 23(62%) brands displayed pictorial warnings on their packs. 3(8%) of the brands were available in two different kinds of packs, both with and without pictorial warnings. Cigarette sale to minors was taking place at 80(85%) of the visited cigarette outlets. 50(53%) of the outlets displayed cigarette advertisements in the form of posters. 46(40%) of the persons questioned had awareness regarding the existence of ban on smoking in public places and 126(90%) of these were in favour of it.
Conclusion: The implementation of tobacco control law in Pakistan is poor. Non adherence to the law in public places was alarmingly high. Also, the study demonstrates the poor compliance to the tobacco control laws by tobacco companies. The sale of cigarettes is almost unregulated.
Key words: Tobacco, Pakistan, Laws, Legislation