Expert for uniform duties on tobacco to control health costs

ISLAMABAD  -   Founding chairman of the School of Sociol­ogy at Quaid-i-Azam University and the head of Zaman Research Center, Prof Muhammad Zaman, on Wednesday stressed the need to pay heed on recommendations of international calls regarding to­bacco tax reforms. 

This is to be mentioned here that IMF has recently suggested the government of Pakistan to go for uniform duties on local as well as foreign cigarettes to increase the volume of its annual taxes.

The report titled ‘Pakistan - Tax Policy Diagnostic and Reform Op­tion’ emphasizes the need for sin­gle tier taxation on both foreign and domestic cigarette manufactur­ers in Pakistan. It further suggest­ed that recent tax increases on ciga­rettes have resulted in a decrease in smoking rate by 20 to 25%.

“The importance of aligning ciga­rette taxes with guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) is need of the hour,” Prof. Zaman said in a statement while support­ing the IMF’s recommendations.

It is estimated that approximate­ly 8 per cent of Pakistan’s popula­tion are smokers, making Pakistan one of the country’s most suscep­tible to the negative effects of ciga­rette consumption. 

The academician emphasized that protecting public health should be a priority for policy­makers and implementing the IMF’s proposed tax measures on tobacco products can help reduce the mortality and morbidity asso­ciated with smoking. 

He also called for increased re­search and advocacy efforts to address the social implications of smoking.

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