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June 11, 2020

Hike in prices of tobacco products demanded

Islamabad

 
June 11, 2020

Islamabad : Though the world commemorates May 31 as the “World No Tobacco Day” but every day should be a ‘No Tobacco Day’ for diabetes patients particularly as tobacco is number one enemy of diabetics, Tahir M. Abbasi, Chief Executive Officer of Pakistan’s first compete diabetes hospital, The Diabetes Centre Islamabad, said in a media talk right after attending a Webinar in Islamabad facilitated by World Health Organization on the hazards of tobacco usage, says a press release.

According to Tahir Abbasi, all possible opportunities need to be capitalized to make Pakistan a tobacco free country and the most effective way to reduce tobacco use is to raise the price of tobacco through increasing tax to discourage youth from initiating cigarette smoking and encourage current smokers to quit. “Since we are on the verge of Budget for the fiscal year 2020-21, it is high time to raise our voice for elevation in Federal Excise Duty on Cigarettes and all other Tobacco products,” the CEO added.

TDC was declared Tobacco Free Organization by the World Health Organization when Dr. Palitha Mahipala, WHO Country Head visited the organization back in 2019. TDC is working closely with WHO for the strict compliance to the national legislation and WHO MPOWER Strategies to reduce the burden of tobacco and to make Pakistan a “Tobacco-free country.”

While responding to a question on tobacco’s impact on economy and environment, Tahir Abbasi stated that the demanded increase in the prices of tobacco products will reduce the health bill of Government of Pakistan and will contribute to clean and healthy environment for future generations. TDC management suggested that the government needs to channelize the additional revenues from extra taxation on tobacco products into situations where financial setbacks are faced such as the current pandemic of COVID-19.

Tahir Abbasi concluded by stating that “we encourage people from all walks of life like media, religious leader, academia, civil society, hospital administrations, NGOs, CSOs, public and private sector organizations and other direct and indirect players to sync and ensure that the Government imposes high cigarette excise tax that significantly reduces tobacco use and increases revenues ultimately making Pakistan a better place to live in.