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March 16, 2021

‘Taxation, planning, policies crucial to curtail tobacco use in youth’

Islamabad

March 16, 2021

Islamabad: Pakistan is in the dire need of a comprehensive change in its taxation and planning policies to curtail the growing use of tobacco, especially among youth, as cigarettes prices in the country remain the lowest in the region.

This is revealed in a research study, “Health Implications of Smoking in Pakistan,” published by the Center for Global and Strategic Studies - a public policy institute and think-tank in Islamabad.

The study said that Pakistan is facing crucial healthcare and financial issues due to increasing trend of smoking cigarettes in the youth and poor implementation of the relevant laws and the policies.

It has suggested the government to closely monitor the situation to ensure that the influence of multinational tobacco industry does not have any effect on the policies being implemented by legislative institutes.

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.

The study said that Pakistan is signatory to the World Health Organisation [WHO] to take effective measures to reduce the demand of cigarettes by applying tools of price and taxes. The WHO has recommended taxes up to 75 percent of the retail price of tobacco products to discourage its use.

The study concluded that Pakistan was losing at least Rs55 billion in annual revenue for not implementing the federal cabinet’s May 2019 decision of imposing a tax levy on the cigarettes.

Malik Imran Ahmed, country head of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said the government should use the pricing and taxation mechanism to discourage smoking and overcome the related diseases.