Wednesday, June 19, 2024

SPARC Call for Immediate Increase in Tobacco Taxation

Speakers at a police dialogue on tobacco taxation in Islamabad, organized by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), have urged for an immediate increase in tobacco taxation for the fiscal year 2024-25, citing the greater interest of the country and its people.

Former caretaker information minister, Murtaza Solangi, emphasized that low cigarette prices are driving children and youth to start smoking, leading to significant economic costs in Pakistan's GDP due to smoking-related illnesses and deaths.

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Country head of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), Malik Imran Ahmed, highlighted the promising results of recent Federal Excise Duty (FED) reforms on tobacco, which have led to increased revenue generation. However, he stressed the need for further action to maintain health cost recovery and safeguard public health.

Dean of Allied Healthcare Sciences at the Health Services Academy, Prof. Dr. Matiur Rehman, underscored the dire consequences of tobacco-related illnesses, which contribute to over 160,000 deaths annually in Pakistan, affecting families, communities, and the healthcare system.

Program Manager of SPARC, Dr. Khalil Ahmad Dogar, warned against the tobacco industry's targeting of children and youth, emphasizing the need for stakeholders to unite in protecting them. He advocated for regular increases in tobacco taxes as a crucial step in curbing the industry's harmful effects and preserving national revenue.

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