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Wednesday May 22, 2024

Make cigarettes hard to buy: academicians

By Bureau report
February 21, 2023

PESHAWAR: The rise in cigarette taxes in Pakistan is a significant step in the direction of lowering tobacco use and advancing public health, said academicians on Sunday.

They believe that this action demonstrates the government’s dedication to shielding its population from the perils of smoking. “To further lower smoking rates in Pakistan, NGOs and other public health advocates must continue to push for stricter tobacco control laws,” said Prof Dr Muhammad Zaman of the Quid-i-Azam University, while speaking at a consultation at a local hotel.

“It is vital to invest in public education and effective enforcement of tobacco control laws to achieve a tobacco-free Pakistan,” he said. He expressed his gratitude by thanking the government for increasing FED after an SRO was released on 14th February, 2023. The SRO stated revised taxes on locally produced cigarettes, and FED has doubled on cigarettes (16500/- per 1000 cigarettes if the initial price on the packaging exceeds 9000 per 1000 cigarettes). He further stated that the government of Pakistan can now inflate the national exchequer by billions of rupees from this initiative.

Agreeing with him, Dr Hassan Shehzad of International Islamic University said smoking is a major issue in Pakistan, where millions of people are dependent on this destructive behaviour. Smoking is a major contributor to a number of illnesses, such as lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other respiratory difficulties. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that smoking causes around 166,000 deaths per year in Pakistan. This figure is concerningly high, and it necessitates quick action to stop the nation’s tobacco pandemic.

Dr Shehzad said a tried-and-true way to decrease tobacco use is to raise the charge on cigarettes. Because of this approach, cigarettes are more expensive, which may deter individuals from smoking-especially young people. Also, the extra tax money can be utilised to assist with smoking cessation programmes and finance anti-smoking ads. The choice to raise cigarette prices in Pakistan is an important step in the direction of promoting public health.