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‘Health levy on tobacco products can generate Rs50b in revenue’

July 21, 2022

Islamabad : Health experts have urged the government to impose a health levy on tobacco products to save precious lives, which are at imminent fatal risk and can help generate an additional Rs50 billion in revenue.

In a joint press release shared by the Society for Protection of Rights of the Child (SPARC), the experts recommended the government take this step, which has been pending since June 2019.

Malik Imran Ahmed, Country head, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, shared that in June 2019, the federal cabinet decided to implement a healthy levy on tobacco products to protect the health of low-income groups and children by taking tobacco products out of their spending reach.

Unfortunately, some key members of the government, hailing from tobacco-growing areas, repeatedly blocked this move.

Malik Imran added that the tobacco industry claims to be an essential entity however tobacco use is the leading cause of death due to non-communicable diseases such as cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular disease.

As many as 31 million adults (age 15+) or about one-fifth of the total adults currently use tobacco, according to Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC).

Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Programme Manager, SPARC, mentioned that children and low-income people are the primary targets of the tobacco industry and unfortunately, our tobacco control policies are making these groups more vulnerable.