‘Tobacco sector data misleading’

January 22, 2021

KARACHI: Misreporting of facts regarding tobacco sector is misleading policymakers and encouraging illicit trade of cigarettes in Pakistan, a media advocacy official said on Thursday.“Instead...

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KARACHI: Misreporting of facts regarding tobacco sector is misleading policymakers and encouraging illicit trade of cigarettes in Pakistan, a media advocacy official said on Thursday.

“Instead of raising public awareness to curb the smoking trend, few organizations are presenting misleading statistics to the government and policy makers,” said Amna Saleen, a representative of Stop Illegal Trade (SIT) Pakistan, in a statement.

“Surprisingly, well known platforms for economic research and government consulting are being used in this campaign.”

Amna Saleem said according to figures released by various international research institutes on illicit sale of cigarettes in Pakistan the position was around 30 percent to 40 percent. “However, on the contrary, various local bodies are presenting separate statistics on the legal and illegal sale of cigarettes in Pakistan, which is diverting the attention of policy makers from the illicit sector,” she added.

For example, she said, a research paper, titled “Regional tobacco tax regime & its implications for health”, recently released by the Social Development Policy Institute (SDPI) was compiled against ground realities.

“This report has used data from a study conducted by ‘Pakistan National Heart Association’ and ‘ Human Development Foundation’ to determine the volume of illicit cigarettes in Pakistan and termed it 9 percent,” she said.



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