Friday August 12, 2022

Pakistan loses Rs615b due to tobacco consumption yearly

May 19, 2022

Islamabad: Pakistan is facing an annual deficit of Rs615 billion due to diseases caused by tobacco consumption while the revenue generated from the product is only Rs120 billion through taxes. By increasing 30 per cent tax on cigarettes, the government can increase revenue to a significant level.

Speakers expressed this in an important seminar organised here on Wednesday. Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) organised the seminar on the topic ‘Harms of Tobacco Products and Importance of Tax Policy’ that was presided over by PANAH Patron General (r) Ashraf Khan and General Secretary Sana Ullah Ghumman hosted the event.

Former governor of KP and senior PML-N leader engineer Iqbal Zafar Jhagra was the special guest at the seminar. On this occasion, Member National Assembly Nisar Cheema was also present.

Uzma Riaz, Samina Matloob, Zahra Wadud, Kishwer Zahra, Syed Mehmud Shah, chairperson, Nation Development Organisation and General Secretary of women wing PANAH, Tehseen Fawad; Chairperson National Commission on the Rights of Child Afshan Tehseen Bajwa; Chairperson Women Development Welfare Centre Iram Mumtaz; former commissioner Income Tax Abdul Hafeez; Squadron Leader (r) Ghulam Abbas, Samina Shoaib, Nureen Gilani, Dr. Zahida, Tanveer Nusrat, Professor Rashid Sadhu and members from civil society attended the seminar as guests.

PANAH Patron General (r) Ashraf Khan thanked the guests and apprised them of the aims and objectives of PANAH, while General Secretary SanaUllah Ghumman briefed the participants on the main points of the seminar. The speakers at the seminar said that the use of tobacco products is a major cause of dangerous diseases in the country. The Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC) published a fact sheet on the health and economic harm of tobacco use. According to the report, 31 million adults over the age of 15 use tobacco. If tobacco taxes are not increased in Pakistan's 2022-23 budget, more than 260,000 people will start smoking in Pakistan. Participants said that tobacco use was the leading cause of death from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart, cancer, respiratory and chronic diseases, with an estimated 163,360 people dying from tobacco use in 2017. The health burden caused by tobacco is about Rs615 billion while the revenue generated from the product is only Rs120 billion through taxes.