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Health experts urge the government to enhance the tax on tobacco products. This step is taken to protect the life of the people. The experts recommended taking this stand in the press release shared by the Society for Protection of Rights of the Child (SPARC).
A campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids runs under Malik Imran Ahmad stated, “the federal cabinet decided to impose the health tax in the tobacco products to make these products out of reach from the children or low-income groups to save them from health damage,” in June 2019. This decision is pending since June 2019 due to some members from Govt who did not allow this step to be taken.
A statement from Malik Imran was that “one of the leading causes of death is the non-communicable disease, like chronic respiratory diseases, heart diseases, cancer, etc. which are caused by Tobacco use”.
“Tobacco industry has the primary target of children and low-income people,” stated Khalil Ahmad Dogar, SPARC, Program Manager.
He further said that cigarettes will become more affordable in the future than in previous years. However, the average levy of 10.8% on cigarettes in Finance Bill 2022 is less than inflation by 13.3%.
All these factors make it crucial to impose a health levy on cigarettes to reduce the risk of health diseases, caused by smoking. Experts also believe that if the Govt does not take this step, the situation may go beyond our control. Pakistan is still in a severe economic crisis, and we may face more issues regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic, as stated by Shariq Ahmad, CEO, of Chromatic Trust.
This step can help the government to face any challenge from the tobacco industry. Experts also believe that taking necessary steps can help to reduce tobacco use, such as restrictions on smoking in specific areas or cigarette purchasing in teens.