Islamabad : Numerous Asian countries have increase tobacco taxes in early 2022 but unfortunately, In Pakistan, the tax on tobacco has not been increased since 3 years. Increased tobacco taxes reduce the demand for cigarettes and their access to youth.
The issue was discussed at a seminar on the harms of tobacco products organized by Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH). The seminar was hosted by Sana Ullah Ghumman, General Secretary and Director Operations of PANAH.
Members of Parliamentarians Uzma Riaz, Zille Huma, Farrukh Khan, Rukhsana Naveed, Mahmud Ali Shah, coordinator PANAH women wing Rohhi Hashmi and others attended the event.
PANAH urged them to raise their voices in the parliament to increase taxes on tobacco. He said tobacco claims over 170,000 lives in Pakistan every year, yet the government has imposed no taxes on the product in the last three years.
Higher taxes are also an effective policy to deter young people from initiating tobacco. He also gave evidence from a study conducted by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in 2021 that the health burden of tobacco products is Rs615 billion due to loss of productivity and tobacco related diseases, while the revenue collected from tobacco industry is only Rs120 billion. Taxes will only help mitigate this burden.
The government must raise at least 30 per cent FED on tobacco products. It was informed in the seminar that many Asian countries have increased their taxes on tobacco at the beginning of the new year 2022. In Indonesia, excise taxes on all levels of cigarettes have been increased by an average of 12% since January 1, 2022. The aim is to keep Indonesian youth away from smoking. The Philippines raises excise tax on cigarettes by five Philippine pesos per pack.
At the start of the new year, cigarette tax in Turkey increased by 47%, Russia on January 1, 2022, increased its excise tax by 4% and the minimum price of cigarettes from 108 to 112 rubles per pack.