Experts say govt can earn much needed revenues by increasing tax on cigarettes rather than on baby milk

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Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) organized an online press briefing on Wednesday, 12 January 2022 to voice on increasing tobacco taxes.

The costs of tobacco consumption are high in terms of negative impacts on the economy and public health. Immediate action is needed to tax tobacco, to generate additional funds for healthy Pakistan.

Malik Imran Ahmed, Country Head Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) Pakistan, told the media that tobacco is the biggest silent killer of Pakistan as 438 people die every day due to its consumption.
He added that around 1200 Pakistani children between the ages of 6-15 years start smoking every day. The children of Pakistan are the biggest victims since the tobacco industry targets them as “replacement smokers. Smoking tobacco should be taxed heavily, thereby making it difficult for the commonalities to afford and the government should also lockdown on the grey market through a track and trace mechanism.

Mr. Khalil Ahmed, Program Manager, Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, (SPARC), requested Govt. to increase taxes responsibly i.e. by keeping public health and productivity.
Increasing taxes on anti-health products will not only discourage consumption of cancerous products but will also generate resources, which then can be deflected to the health sector for better health.

Mr. Shariq Mahmood Khan, CEO Chromatic Trust, said that according to the Economics of Tobacco in Pakistan, fetching taxes to 70 percent (WHO) would help half a million users in quitting, reducing premature deaths among adult smokers.
Generated revenue can be allocated to healthcare, and should prudently be used by both provincial and federal government to improve the people’s mental and physical wellbeing, particularly of the youth. This would also help increase productivity.