There are 18 million tobacco users in Pakistan, making it the eleventh largest consumer market for tobacco in the world.
Approximately 15.6 million people ages 15 and older currently smoke tobacco (bidis and cigarettes). Approximately 9.6 million people ages 15 and older use smokeless tobacco, with a prevalence rate of7.7%
Tobacco use is also significantly higher among men (31.8%) versus women (5.8%).
Health and Economic Burden From Tobacco Use
In 2020, it was estimated that tobacco use accounted for more than 163,600 deaths, or 10.9% of all deaths in the country.
In 2019, it was estimated that 59.9% of total tracheal, bronchus and lung cancer deaths to tobacco and 43.7% of total lip and oral cavity cancer was attributed to tobacco use.
Tobacco causes a substantial economic impact. In 2019, the total cost of all smoking-attributable diseases and deaths amounted to an estimated USD 3.85 billion.
Pakistan signed and ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2005, thereby affirming its commitment to use the WHO’s MPOWER measures to curb tobacco use.
The country has implemented advertising about the harms of tobacco use, passed legislation designating smoke-free areas, banned tobacco advertisements, added health warnings to cigarette packs, and introduced a tiered excise tax on cigarettes.
In that vein, the country has implemented MPOWER measures to varying degree. It is considered to have ‘completed’ implementing measures for monitoring tobacco use and health warnings, ‘moderately completed’ implementing mass media, advertising and taxation measures to reduce tobacco use, and only ‘minimally completed’ implementing smoke-free environments and cessation programs.
The sale of e-cigarettes is not regulated in Pakistan. Heated tobacco products are generically regulated as a tobacco product.
TOBACCO PRODUCTION AND DIVERSIFICATION
Pakistan is the 8th largest producer of tobacco crops in the world, producing 132,872 tons in 2020. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab regions comprise 98.5% of tobacco crop production.
Tobacco provides livelihoods to 1.2 million people in Pakistan. Between 70,000 and 80,000are farmers and roughly 50,000 of them work in tobacco factories.
*As research findings become available that are inclusive of additional gender identities, the Foundation will update the information presented.