LAHORE:Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) has demanded that the government should increase taxes on smoking by at least 30% in the forthcoming budget.
Pakistan currently faces an annual deficit of Rs615 billion due to tobacco-related diseases. Significant increase in tobacco prices is one of the most helpful step in reducing its use, especially in low-income families and among young people.
Article 6 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control also requires that we should increase tobacco prices in the country and reduce its use. At present, 31 million adults over the age of 15, use tobacco in the country, said Dr Khubaib Shahid, Central President of PIMA, on world ‘No Tobacco Day’.
If the price of petrol can be increased by Rs 30 per litre which has a direct negative effect on the common man, then why not impose taxes on tobacco whose reduction in use can be positive to the nation.
He said that in the last three years, there has been no increase in taxes on tobacco in Pakistan. The main purpose of raising the tobacco tax by 30% is to reduce the number of people using tobacco, but it is also possible to significant increase in revenue.
He demanded that all taxes collected from tobacco should be spent on the public health sector. Laws against smoking in public should be strictly enforced, and the public should be made aware of its dangers through media.
Research has proven that smoking is a major cause of loss of human life as well as lung and mouth cancer, heart disease and stroke. In 2017, an estimated 163,360 people in Pakistan lost their lives to various diseases due to smoking.