ISLAMABAD: The Federal government has finally approved the imposition of ‘sin tax’, now being called the ‘Health Tax’ on tobacco products and carbonated drinks, in the upcoming budget for fiscal year 2019-20, focal person to PM for tobacco control Babar Bin Atta has confirmed.
The approved tax amounts to Rs 10 on a pack of 20 cigarettes and Rs1 tax on a 250ml bottle of carbonated drinks. The health tax is set to be announced in the federal budget being presented on Tuesday, June 11.
The revenues generated from the tax will be spent through the health card on poor masses of the country, the aide said. It is also expected that the said health tax will generate approximately Rs 50 billion in revenues, Atta said.
The cabinet had in principle decided to impose the tax on cigarettes after discussing the health hazards posed by smoking and decided to spend the resulting revenues for the health sector. Special Assistant to Prime Minister for National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza spoke to media saying that a hike in cigarette prices is imperative to prevent children from tobacco smoking.
North of 15 million people in Pakistan use tobacco products and approximately 0.16 million people have been reported to have died of the smoking related causes, he said. Health reports also added that tobacco is a major cause of non-communicable diseases that include at least 15 types of cancer.