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June 21, 2019

Demand for health tax renewed

Islamabad

June 21, 2019

Islamabad : Speakers at a session renewed demand for the imposition of health levy of Rs10 on a pack of cigarettes.

The session was organised by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) to encourage health levy on tobacco products.

The speakers appreciated the Prime Minister Khan’s decision approval for rolling back the third slab of federal excise duty introduced by the last government and his commitment regarding the health of people and raised deep concern for not imposing health tax of Rs10 per pack of cigarette.

Sajjad Ahmad Cheema Executive Director, SPARC highlighted government has ignored the cabinet’s decision on imposing a health tax on cigarettes in the budget for the fiscal year 2019-20 in a bid to generate funds for the development of the health sector.

He added the tobacco industry has always portrayed high figures of illicit trade to strengthen their business against tobacco control legislation and enforcement of laws.

Sajjad Ahmed Cheema further added Government should be aware of obsolete arguments and propaganda of the tobacco industry and need to ignore these arguments.

Ch. Sana Ullah Ghuman, General Secretary, Pakistan Heart Association (PANAH) said Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved a plan to increase taxes on the cigarette manufacturing industry in the upcoming budget for 2019-20 in a bid to enhance revenue collection and discourage its use.

However, certain lobbyists appeared to be influencing the affairs and the decision on health levy was not implemented. We are demanding from the government to impose health tax on cigarette.

Rana Iradat Sharif Khan, Member National Assembly spoke on the smoking habits of youngsters; growing habits of smoking in youngers is the initial step to get attracted for drugs. He highlighted the crucial role of the anti-smoking campaign reducing the health risks in schools and colleges. We need to condemn the smoking habits in youngsters.

Zahid Shafiq, Programme Manager, Human Development Foundation (HDF) added that considering the fact that an increase in dollar price has had an effect of the increase in the price of basic goods for a living.

As civil society organizations and anxious for the better future generation of Pakistan we are seriously concerned why health tax is not been imposed on the tobacco industry in Pakistan.

Health tax on tobacco products will not only reduce the health bill of government of Pakistan and contribute to a clean and healthy environment for future generations. We urge to Government of Pakistan to impose the health tax on cigarettes immediately to save our nation.

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