Tobacco usage declines after decision on high taxes

ISLAMABAD   -   A notable de­crease in consumption of ciga­rettes in Pakistan has been wit­nessed especially following the bold decision of the government to increase taxes and address the dual challenge of public health and revenue generation, says a fresh report.

“The government’s decision to increase taxes emerged as a pivot­al strategy to address both public health concerns and revenue defi­cits,” the study furnished by the Capital Calling, a network of aca­demic researchers and profession­als. According to it, one in every 94 smokers has quit smoking after the price increase which has been proved right.

The government had finally agreed to increase taxes following persistent lobbying efforts by nu­merous anti-tobacco and social ac­tivists.

The FBR in a groundbreaking move had elevated the duty on tier-1 cigarettes from 130 rupees to 330 rupees, resulting in a signif­icant net increase of 154 percent.

The FBR’s decision was aimed at increasing the revenue to Rs 200 billion from Rs 148 billion in the current fiscal year.

According to details, the study compiled after a survey conduct­ed in major cities including Islam­abad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Pe­shawar.

The voices of the surveyed smok­ers echoed a common sentiment - purchasing cigarettes had become financially burdensome, leading them to prioritize spending on es­sential needs like food and the ed­ucation of their children.

The survey findings presented a compelling evidence in favour of the higher taxes - the tobacco in­dustry was causing a staggering loss of approximately 620 billion rupees annually in terms of dis­eases including cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and cardio­vascular disease, besides 337,500 deaths each year.

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