Islamabad – Minister of Information, Broadcasting, and Parliamentary Affairs, Murtaza Solangi, has endorsed the strategy of increasing taxes as a means of discouraging and reducing Tobacco consumption in the country.
“An increase in taxes on tobacco is necessary to deter its consumption,” Solangi said addressing a ceremony organized by Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC in partnership with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK).
Solangi said that tobacco not only affects the health of our citizens but also places a significant strain on both our healthcare system and economy.
"Tobacco use is a disease that causes one death every six seconds," he said.
In this respect, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) conducted a study highlighting the fact that the cumulative costs associated with diseases and fatalities linked to smoking amounted to Rs 615.07 billion ($3.85 billion), equivalent to 1.6 percent of the GDP in 2019.
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Guidelines underscores the significance of taxation as a primary tool in curbing tobacco consumption.
Research studies and WHO recommendation say that high tobacco taxes as the most effective means to reduce consumption of cigarettes, especially among youth and low-income groups.
It's worth noting that the Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cigarettes was raised during the fiscal year 2022-23.
This policy shift after a three-year period of stagnation involving tax increase, has not only led to a significant growth in revenue but has also played a role in decreasing cigarette consumption.
Dr. Maheen Malik, Director of Tobacco Control for the South Asia Region at CTFK, expressed gratitude for the commitment of CTFK's partner organization in Pakistan and pledged continued collaboration with stakeholders to ensure effective and responsive initiatives and policies addressing evolving challenges posed by tobacco consumption.
Solangi paid tribute to those striving for tobacco-free Pakistan and for high taxes on cigarettes with the assurance stating, "Even before I held a ministerial position, I stood by your side, and my support for you will persist in the future."