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Govt decision to impose health tax hailed

June 01, 2019

ISLAMABAD: In a joint statement the Country Representative Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) Malik Imran Ahmad, Executive Director Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) Sajad Ahmad and Secretary General Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) Sana Ullah Ghumman lauded Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to implement health tax on cigarettes, as a result of which cigarette packs will be Rs10 more expensive, says a press release.

Earlier this year in the Auditor General of Pakistan’s special report, it was found that cigarettes manufacturers were involved in tax evasion of Rs33 billion. Consequently, the government withdrew the third slab of federal excise duty (FED) for the cigarettes industry in order to enhance revenue collection from tobacco sales.

Malik Imran Ahmad said “Tobacco industry often lobbies and tries to meddle with government’s decisions by presenting an obsolete argument that those higher taxes on tobacco may lead to the rise on illicit trade, despite how numerous studies contradict this assertion.” He also stated that according to World Health Organisation’s Manual on Tobacco Tax Administration, tobacco taxes are proven to be the most effective way to reduce tobacco consumption.

Like many other developing countries Pakistan still has one of the cheapest rates of tobacco products in the world.