Sunday May 28, 2023

Tobacco industry threatening govt with fudged data

By Our Correspondent
April 14, 2023

Islamabad: Health activists have urged the government to remain steadfast on its decision to double the Federal Excise Duty (FED) on Cigarettes. In a press release shared by Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), health activists shared that this decision can solve Pakistan’s financial dejection, provided that the government is not mislead by the tobacco industry’s misinformation campaign.

Malik Imran, country head, Campaign for tobacco-free kids (CTFK), mentioned that tobacco induced disease causes an annual economic burden of 615 billion which is 1.6% of Pakistan’s GDP. Although tobacco industry is one of the major tax payers but the revenue generated from the tobacco industry is 120 billion. Therefore, the industry can’t claim that it is fulfilling the duty. Majority of the smuggled products belong to international companies operating in Pakistan. An industry which is causing such severe damage to people’s health and finances, should not use victim card that it is being ‘burdened’ by taxes. Therefore, instead of listening to the misinformation spread by tobacco industry, everyone must appreciate government’s decision which is in interest of Pakistan’s health and economy. And the government must be consistent about the decision it took on tax increase regarding tobacco products because existing tobacco taxes can generate 60 billion more in revenue. Imran also mentioned that in order to gain sympathies tobacco industry uses emotional tactics e.g., provider for poor families etc. Reality is that the deadly products of tobacco industry are snatching people’s precious resources.