Pakistan: Call to increase taxes on tobacco

Pakistan: Call to increase taxes on tobacco

Country Representative of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Malik Imran Ahmad has said that Pakistan’s cigarette production has jumped around 90 per cent with the introduction of third-tier taxation.

The government should introduce single-tier tobacco taxation and increase taxes to discourage smoking among children and the youth, he said, adding the third tier taxation system that was introduced by the then government under the influence of the tobacco industry had resulted in the billions of rupees revenue loss.

He said the government was misguided by the tobacco industry that illicit share of cigarettes was huge and they cannot compete in the local market, and claimed that the informal sector would become formal and result in additional tax collection.

Mr Ahmad said the government should devise a robust mechanism in the upcoming budget to boost tobacco tax collection and reduce the number of smokers that would automatically help reduce the country’s health expenditures.

The tobacco is the cause of 160,100 deaths in the country every year and that some 29.3 million adults currently use tobacco in some form. The economic cost of smoking in Pakistan amounts to Rs165 billion, mostly due to health reasons.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco excise taxes should account for at least 70 percent of retail prices for tobacco products.

Source: The News International