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Attitudes of smokers towards tobacco control policies: findings from the Studying Tobacco users of Pakistan (STOP) survey


Background Public attitude is a political driver in successful implementation of tobacco control policies. We assessed support for a range of tobacco control policies among smokers in Pakistan.

Methods We conducted a household survey among adult smokers in 10 cities of Pakistan, using a two-stage random sampling strategy to select households and Kish grid method to select one smoker per household. Attitudes were measured using a five-point ordinal scale on four policy statements: a complete ban on tobacco sale within 10 years; raising the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21; increasing tobacco taxes to fund healthcare and a ban on smoking in cars with minors.

Results 6014 participants were interviewed between September 2019 and March 2020. Most participants demonstrated strong support for all policy statements: a ban on smoking in cars with minors (86.5%); a complete ban on tobacco sale within 10 years (82.1%); raising the legal age to buy tobacco (77.9%) and increasing tobacco taxes (68.1%). Smokers’ support for tobacco control policies increased with age but decreased with higher educational attainment and heaviness of smoking.

Conclusions There is strong support among smokers in Pakistan to strengthen tobacco control. Given this, policy-makers should strongly consider strengthening existing national policies on tobacco control.

  • low/middle income country
  • public policy
  • public opinion
  • surveillance and monitoring
  • health services

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