By: OUR CORRESPONDENR
ISLAMABAD: Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) issued a press release to thank the government for raising Federal Excise Duty on cigarettes despite the pressure from big tobacco industry. According to the tobacco control experts, the recently announced raise of 10 percent will help in saving precious lives and financial resources.
Dr. Ziauddin Islam – Country Lead – Vital Strategies/ Former Technical Head/Director, Tobacco Control Cell, Ministry of NHSR&C/ Former Technical focal Person of Govt. of Pakistan for WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) stated that with this increase in tobacco taxation, there will be 200,000 fewer smokers; 1.2% reduction in smoking prevalence among adults; 1.23% reduction in smoking intensity among adults; 71,900 lives saved; and PKR 27.4 billion in additional total FED revenue—an increase of at least 25.1%.. While acknowledging the government’s effort he mentioned that, these results were achieved after an incredible and constant struggle. He recommended that prices of tobacco products be increase every year in accordance to the inflation and World Health Organization’s guidelines.
Malik Imran, Country Head for Campaign for Tobacco Free-Kids (CTFK), appreciated the government and mentioned that millions of people will benefit from this initiative. He pointed that children and low-income people are primary target of tobacco industry. Due to cheap and easily affordability 1200 children begin smoking daily. Therefore, these revised tier prices are an innovative way to safeguard youth and low-income groups from harms of tobacco.
Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Program Manager SPARC, highlighted the importance of this endeavor. He said that every year tobacco industry tries to manipulate policymakers in order to fill its coffers at expense of lives of more than 170,000 people who die due to diseases caused and aggravated by usage of tobacco products. Tobacco control activists are working tirelessly to aid the government in standing firmly against the deceptive campaigns by the tobacco industry