Big Tobacco Tiny Targets
Sales, Product Displays,and
Purchase Incentives Around
Kindergartens, Primary, and
Between December 4th, 2017 and January 9th, 2018, Field Agents performed visual surveys of tobacco advertising, sale, displays, and purchase incentives located within a 100-meter radius of children’s school playgrounds, kindergartens, primary, and secondary schools in 8 cities in Pakistan. The areas included in the study were: Islamabad, Murree, Larkana, Peshawar, Hafizabad, Pindi Bhattian, Jalalpur Bhattian, and Shakar Dara.
Surveyors visited a total of 133 schools and found the following in Pakistan:
- Vendors sell tobacco products around schools. (Investigators observed 268 points of sale selling tobacco products around schools. Groceries were the most common form of vendors observed, followed by street vendors and kiosks.)
- Multinational tobacco companies sell tobacco products around schools. (Investigators documented that, of the 268 tobacco points of sale observed, 65.3% carried British American Tobacco brands, 27.1% carried Philip Morris International brands, and 6.5% carried Japan Tobacco brands.)
- Vendors advertise tobacco products around schools. (Investigators observed tobacco advertising at 89% of the 268 tobacco points of sale observed.) Posters were the most common form of advertising at 87.2% of the 268 tobacco points of sale observed.
- Vendors sell cigarettes and bidis via single sticks, making these products cheap and accessible to children and youth around schools. (Investigators observed single stick sales in 99.5% of the 268 tobacco points of sale observed.)
- Vendors display tobacco products in ways that are appealing to children and youth. (Investigators documented that, of the 268 tobacco points of sale observed, 95% of displays were at 1 meter – a child’s eye level; 62% of the points of sale had no visible health warning; and 94% of displays were beside candy, sweets and toys – items marketed to children.)
- Vendors utilize sales techniques such as discounting produc ts and distributing fr e e s ampl e s. (Investigators documented that, of the 268 tobacco points of sale observed, 27.2% offered price discounts and 8.1% offered free tobacco products.
Our investigation revealed that Pakistan’s children are bombarded with tobacco marketing and product accessibility immediately around their schools. Tobacco companies commonly advertise their products in stores near schools and use product displays at stores and kiosks designed to be attractive to children. Advertising is often placed at a child’s eye level, and tobacco products are placed near candies, snacks, and school supplies. The placement provides easy access to tobacco products to school children.
The way tobacco products are packaged and displayed are also important marketing tools for the tobacco industry. Backlighting, bright colors, and interesting materials are all used to make tobacco product displays more attractive to children. These tobacco industry advertising and product placement techniques were found in the field surveys.
Not surprisingly, Philip Morris and Pakistan Tobacco Company products were the most commonly observed around schools in our investigation and they are also the most vocal lobby against the restrictions on tobacco advertising in Pakistan.
To strengthen the current law and otherwise combat tobacco industry targeting of children and youth, this report recommends the following:
- The government of Pakistan must enforce its current tobacco control legislation, including:
- the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Ordinance, 2002 which bans sales of tobacco products within 50 meters of schools; and
- the following SROs issued under the 2002 Ordinance: i. SRO 1086 (I)/2013 which restricts point of sale advertising; ii. SROs 277(I)/2011 and (I)/2018 which prohibit the sale of single sticks of cigarettes.
- The government also must strengthen Pakistan’s tobacco control legislation, to include a ban on all forms of point of sale tobacco advertising and point of sale tobacco product display.
- The government should reconstitute and activate the Committee on Tobacco Advertisement Guidelines (CTAG) on a permanent basis and task the CTAG with continuously reviewing and updating Pakistan’s tobacco control legislation as it relates to tobacco industry advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
- Municipal authorities should license tobacco vendors. Regulating tobacco vendors can aid enforcement of Pakistan’s tobacco control legislation.
- Compliance with Pakistan’s tobacco control legislation should be a condition of the tobacco vendor license where violations of the laws constitute a violation of the license itself.
- Municipalities should consider licensing only exclusive tobacco shops where tobacco products solely can be sold. This will reduce exposure to tobacco products by children and non-users who will not frequent such stores.