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February 22, 2021

Cigarettes production increases by 14.5% in first half of fiscal year

 
February 22, 2021

Islamabad: The cigarettes production has surged at least 14.5 per cent with a total worth of over Rs25 billion in the first six months of this fiscal year, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

The official data shows a significant increase in production and sale of the cigarettes in the country, contrary to the government’s claims of discouraging the use of tobacco products in the country.

The manufacturing of cigarettes, their sales and stock have increased by 9.4 per cent and 19.2 per cent respectively in Punjab during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in the province, according to Planning and Development Department of the Punjab.

These official statistics out rightly reject the stance of foreign cigarette companies in Pakistan that there is a decline in their production and sales of the cigarettes because of the increase in the illicit trade.

A recent research study has revealed that Pakistan was bearing an annual $1.3 billion financial burden due to different diseases caused by the tobacco products including cancer and heart diseases. Pakistan is included in the 15 states of the world bearing the worst impacts of smoking related health problems, according to the study. The data shows that 22 million Pakistanis consume the tobacco related products daily, causing deaths of 160,100 individuals annually.

Anti-tobacco activists have urged the government to discourage the use of tobacco in the youth by imposing additional taxes on the product and ensure strict implementation of the anti-tobacco laws in the country.

Malik Imran Ahmed, country head of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said that use of the tobacco products especially cigarettes was increasing in the country due to low taxes and poor implementation of the relevant laws.

He said the government should use the tool of price and taxes to discourage the production and sales of the cigarettes as suggested by the World Health Organisation. The WHO has recommended taxes up to 75 percent of the retail price of tobacco products to discourage its use.

Ahmed said the multinational companies and certain interest groups were misleading the government against the additional taxes like health levy on the tobacco products to discourage their use, though it can help the government to collect around Rs40 billion per annum additional revenues from the tobacco products.

He said the multinational companies would launch a campaign before every budget for reduction in the FED despite the fact that production and sales of their cigarettes were registering a significant increase.

The cigarettes consumption figures stand at a whopping 86.6 billion per year while the official figures by the industry remain restricted to 55 billion only to evade the tax.