Govt decision to increase tax on cigarettes hailed

ISLAMABAD-The Society for the Protection of the Rights of Child (SPARC) has hailed the federal government for increasing Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cigarettes, virtually doubling the tax on the locally produced cigarettes.
“This move is the result of joint efforts by tobacco control activists, health professionals, and policymakers, who have been advocating for stronger tobacco control policies in the country,” said Malik Imran, the country head of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) as he expressed his gratitude to the government for increasing the FED. According to him, the recent issuance of a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) on February 14, 2023, has revised the taxes on locally produced cigarettes, with FED doubled on cigarettes that have an initial price on the packaging exceeding 9000 per 1000 cigarettes, to 16500/- per 1000 cigarettes. This move is expected to generate billions of rupees in revenue for the national exchequer, while also discouraging smoking among children, he added.
Khalil Dogar, Program Manager at SPARC, also commended the government for its decision to double the FED on cigarettes. He highlighted the positive impact this policy will have on the economy, as well as its potential to reduce smoking among children. According to Dogar, increasing the cost of cigarettes will make it harder for young people to afford them, ultimately reducing the number of children who become addicted to tobacco.
The increase in FED is a significant step towards controlling tobacco use in Pakistan, a country where tobacco consumption is widespread and a major public health concern. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, conducted in 2014, approximately 24.3 million adults in Pakistan use tobacco in some form, and around 163,000 people die each year from tobacco-related diseases. Tobacco control activists hope that the government will continue to take bold steps to reduce tobacco consumption in Pakistan. This includes implementing stronger tobacco control policies, such as increasing taxes on tobacco products, banning tobacco advertising and promotion, and creating smoke-free public spaces.

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