• July 24, 2024

Pakistan Urged to OK Small Packs for Exports

 Pakistan Urged to OK Small Packs for Exports
Photo: Alexandr Byerdugin

Pakistan Tobacco Co. (PTC), a BAT subsidiary, is lobbying the Pakistan government to allow export of 10-piece cigarettes packs to Sudan, reports The Guardian. Pakistan is one of more than 80 countries that prohibits the sale or manufacture of 10-piece cigarette packs. Sudan, by contrast, permits such packs.

In a letter to the government, PTC said it “received a new export order to manufacture for Sudan, which includes packs of 10 cigarettes.”

PTC told the government that exempting export orders from the 10-cigaratte pack ban would benefit Pakistan as the order is worth $20.5 million and could be repeated.

Health activists urged the government to deny the request. “It is beyond shameful that British American Tobacco is seeking to alter the law in Pakistan so that it can flood an African country in crisis with cheap cigarettes,” said Mark Hurley, vice president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Sudan is currently in the midst of a civil war.

According to Hurley, over 80 countries have banned sales of small packs, requiring at least 20 cigarettes per pack, “because evidence shows these cheap packs are used to target kids and vulnerable populations.”

“Exploiting not only this knowledge but a country facing a humanitarian crisis is the behavior of a company that will truly stop at nothing to sell and addict more people to cigarettes,” he said.

BAT countered that the export order was intended to replace domestic manufacturing by its Sudanese subsidiary Blue Nile Cigarette Co. (BNCC), which is based in Madani, where there has been heavy fighting in the civil war.

“To ensure the continuity of products to meet consumer demands in Sudan, which predominantly operates in cigarette packs of 10, Pakistan was given the export order to supply to BNCC,” said a BAT spokesperson. “The clearance for the export order of cigarette packs of 10 from Pakistan to Sudan is pending regulatory approval by the government of Pakistan. The clearance complies with all local laws and regulations in Sudan.

“For any products manufactured by BAT, we abide by strict marketing principles to prevent marketing and sales to underage [consumers]. These measures include prominent 18-plus age warnings on packaging as well as our communications.”