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Wednesday October 27, 2021

Single-tier taxation urged on tobacco products

May 19, 2021

Islamabad : Anti-tobacco activists and experts on Tuesday urged the government to enforce a single-tier taxation system on tobacco products in the country through upcoming budget to increase revenue and discourage smoking.

They said that different taxation tiers on tobacco products were only benefitting multinational tobacco companies to evade taxes and contributing to increase in number of smokers in the country.

A Country Representative of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Malik Imran said that Pakistan has not increased tax on tobacco products for the last four years while prices of all other commodities have increased manifold due to inflation, says a press release.

He said the government should enforce a single-tier taxation system through the budget to save youth and kids from becoming smokers. He questioned the multinational tobacco companies resistance to the single-tier taxation system, saying the consumers would pay the higher taxes and the companies should back it.

A recent research study by The University of Edinburgh has also urged Pakistani government to reform tobacco taxation policy, since taxes can raise revenue, are a proven strategy to avoid tobacco-related mortality and morbidity, particularly in the context of Covid-19.

The study said that heavy taxes also help deter youth to initiate smoking and smokers to quit or decrease smoking due to increase in cigarette prices.

Exploring the link between tobacco use and COVID-19, the study urged the government to integrate tobacco control while improving and formulating strategies to combat Covid-19 in the future. Data on tobacco use should be integrated into Covid-19 data collection from cases or patients admitted to hospital, it said.