Health activists for tobacco tax raise to control smoking

ISLAMABAD   -    Health activists have called for an immediate increase in tobacco taxes in Pakistan to protect the rights and health of children and the general public.

Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), in a statement issued here on Thursday, said that this call has been made at a time when the nation faces a severe public health crisis.

“With approximately 31.6 million adults in Pakistan are currently using tobacco, tobacco-related illnesses claim more than 160,000 lives annually, imposing a significant burden on the healthcare system and costing the economy at least 1.4% of its GDP every year,” revealed Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Head Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK).

He shared in detail that the recent Federal Excise Duty (FED) reforms on tobacco have demonstrated promising results in terms of revenue generation.

Collections from July 2023 to January 2024 have already surpassed PKR 122 billion, with projections for the full year exceeding Rs200 billion, marking a substantial increase compared to previous fiscal years.

Imran added that in addition to the financial benefits, these reforms play a crucial role in promoting public health by reducing tobacco consumption and potentially recovering 17.8% of the total healthcare costs associated with smoking in Pakistan. However, maintaining the current rate could result in a decrease in health cost recovery, highlighting the urgent need for further action.

To achieve similar levels of health cost recovery observed in 2023-24, a 37% increase in the FED rate for the upcoming year is recommended.

This tax proposal presents a clear ‘win-win’ scenario, benefiting both the government and the people of Pakistan by enhancing revenue and safeguarding public health.

Dr. Khalil Ahmad Dogar, Program Manager at SPARC, also echoed these sentiments, stating, “The devastating impact of tobacco use extends far beyond individual health, affecting families, communities, and the economy at large. We cannot afford to overlook the urgency of implementing effective measures to address this crisis.”

Acknowledging the urgency of the situation, Dr. Khalil emphasized that it’s imperative that we take decisive action to curb tobacco use in Pakistan to safeguard the health and well-being of our citizens, particularly our children.

 

ISLAMABAD (APP): Health activists have called for an immediate increase in tobacco taxes in Pakistan to protect the rights and health of children and the general public.

Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), in a statement issued here on Thursday, said that this call has been made at a time when the nation faces a severe public health crisis.

“With approximately 31.6 million adults in Pakistan are currently using tobacco, tobacco-related illnesses claim more than 160,000 lives annually, imposing a significant burden on the healthcare system and costing the economy at least 1.4% of its GDP every year,” revealed Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Head Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK).

He shared in detail that the recent Federal Excise Duty (FED) reforms on tobacco have demonstrated promising results in terms of revenue generation.

Collections from July 2023 to January 2024 have already surpassed PKR 122 billion, with projections for the full year exceeding Rs200 billion, marking a substantial increase compared to previous fiscal years.

Imran added that in addition to the financial benefits, these reforms play a crucial role in promoting public health by reducing tobacco consumption and potentially recovering 17.8% of the total healthcare costs associated with smoking in Pakistan. However, maintaining the current rate could result in a decrease in health cost recovery, highlighting the urgent need for further action.

To achieve similar levels of health cost recovery observed in 2023-24, a 37% increase in the FED rate for the upcoming year is recommended.

This tax proposal presents a clear ‘win-win’ scenario, benefiting both the government and the people of Pakistan by enhancing revenue and safeguarding public health.

Dr. Khalil Ahmad Dogar, Program Manager at SPARC, also echoed these sentiments, stating, “The devastating impact of tobacco use extends far beyond individual health, affecting families, communities, and the economy at large. We cannot afford to overlook the urgency of implementing effective measures to address this crisis.”

Acknowledging the urgency of the situation, Dr. Khalil emphasized that it’s imperative that we take decisive action to curb tobacco use in Pakistan to safeguard the health and well-being of our citizens, particularly our children.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt