Society for Alternative Media and Research

Tobacco Control Program

1. Worked for policy improvement to be more coherent to FCTC

a. Efforts made for enhanced PHW to 85% to be introduced by end of July 2015

b. Provided federal TCC appropriate responses to counter tobacco industry’s stance that enhanced PHW in Pakistan would impact negatively as it would increase smuggling.

c. Continued engagement with Provincial Governments of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and Sindh provinces on regulating smokeless tobacco products

d. Continued development of relevant information materials for target audience

2. Countered Tobacco Industry

a. Exposed the involvement of diplomats (British High Commissioner) through media when they came in support of tobacco industry for influencing the government. They tried to persuade the government that enhanced PHW would encourage smuggling of cigarettes

b. Litigation

i. 100% successful litigation for enforcement of Tobacco Control Laws (TCLs): Eight cases filed and successfully decided in favor of enforcement of TCLs on smoking, particularly shisha, at public places. Shisha smoking is now banned at public places including restaurants/cafes etc in Punjab Province.

ii. Policy term ‘Public Place’ defined clearly by the court according to which ‘open places’ of a public place are also to be treated the same. Furthermore, a gathering of two or more person at any place will be considered as ‘Public Place’ and enforcement of TCLs is applicable in full spirit.

iii. During the litigation period, in 2012, the Baluchistan province also banned shisha smoking at public places in the province.

iv. Ongoing:

A) SAMAR initiated a litigation (writ petition # 2532/2015) at Islamabad High Court on August 06, 2015, for enforcement of new 85% Graphic Health Warning on Cigarette Packs as notified by the Government of Pakistan in January 2015.

B) SAMAR is also becoming a party for a petition 2436/2014 filed by Philip Morris International in Sindh High Court (SHC) challenging the new guidelines restraining tobacco products advertisements at the sale points and in the print media as well as electronic media.

3. Continued engagement with federal and provincial authorities

a. Achieved compliance of TCLs in 5 target districts in both health facilities and educational institutions by engaging Punjab Province Government through its health and education departments

b. Coordinated between authorities and international tobacco control allies for strengthening of tobacco control strategies for Pakistan in 2015 - 2016

4.Created an environment for tobacco tax reform

a. Provided evidences and suggestions to relevant authorities for significant tax raise recommendations

5. Initiated discussion on significant tax raise between Federal Bureau of Revenue and authorities which reflected in annual budget as overall 58 – 63% tax increase.

6. Engaged professional groups and civil society including sub-grantee proactively

a. Monitored enforcement of TCLs and identified key areas for TCC and local authorities to put more focus

b. Coordinated with and linked relevant authorities and departments at provincial levels for collaborated efforts on TC issues

c. Reached out to communities on wider scale using professional (media and health) groups to garner public support

d. Organized four Support Seeking Sessions on enhanced PHWs with authorities and Professional Groups including Health Practitioners, Journalists, Lawyers and civil society activists

e. With the support of Khushab partner held a grand gala at provincial capital, Lahore, participated by the Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, parliamentarians and a popular singer, Jawad Ahmad. The Speaker made commitments to bring tobacco control at the agenda of the Punjab Assembly for discussion. On this occasion, launched Jawad Ahmad’s poster with the slogan of “Quit Smoking”.

f. With support from Islamabad coalition member, Kuch Khaas, produced a short tobacco control video on effects of smoking cigarettes; an enemy disguised as a friend. The video "My friend" is based on adaption of Joel Spitzer's letter; My cigarette, My friend. Upon its release on social media; the video gained instant popularity surpassing viewership of 5000 (at present, reaching 10,000) in three days time. Joel Spitzer, the author of the original letter and site owner of, complemented the video and showed his interest in hosting the video at his site.


Media Mirror

Fortnightly E-magazine, Media Mirror (launched by Society for Alternative Media and Research) concentrates on Media and its interlinked issues.

Media Review

The organization is publishing quarterly Media Review in Urdu language for the past three years. In 2011, the project's target audience.