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May 9, 2021

Around 1,200 children take to smoking every day

 
May 9, 2021

LAHORE : Pakistan is among one of the world’s top tobacco-consuming countries as 24 million people are active users of tobacco, according to a report issued by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE).

The total costs attributable to all smoking-related diseases and deaths in Pakistan for 2019 are Rs615.07 billion ($3.85 billion), and the indirect costs (morbidity and mortality) make up 70 percent of the total cost, Durre Nayab of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics quoted the study.

“Regular use of tobacco is a major cause of heart, cancer and other deadly diseases. Smoking has become a social evil in our society and must be curbed for the welfare of children who are future of the nation,” she said.

“More than 160,000 people die of tobacco related diseases in Pakistan. Increasing prices of cigarettes, imposing additional taxes on the product and strict legalisation will act as a deterrent.

The report noted that more and more women are taking to smoking which is very alarming. A mother who smokes is putting hers and her children’s life in jeopardy,” the report said.

Around 1,200 children between the ages of 6 and 15 take to smoking every day in Pakistan, quoted Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Programme Manager, Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC).

He pointed out that wherever ratio of smokers has gone down, it is where the governments have imposed heavy taxes on cigarettes.

He said that the current tax structure in the country enables the tobacco industry to sell cheaper cigarettes.

He said that cigarette prices in Pakistan are among the lowest in the world.

The average excise tax share of 45.4 percent of the retail price is much lower than the WHO recommendation that excise tax should be at least 70 percent of the retail price.

Currently, the effective excise tax rate on cigarettes is still the same as it was 5 years ago due to no change in the federal excise tax.