Society for Protection of Rights of the Child (SPARC) in an online briefing urged Prime Imran Khan to take notice of delay in the imposition of health levy on tobacco products.
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Country Head Malik Imran Ahmed shared that the federal cabinet in June 2019 decided to implement a healthy levy on tobacco products. This decision was made to protect the health of low income groups and children by taking tobacco products out of their spending reach.
Unfortunately, some key members of the government have repeatedly blocked this move because for them a flourishing tobacco industry is more important than public health, Imran claimed.
Imran Ahmed said that tobacco consumption costs the country Rs615 billion health burden due to tobacco-related diseases and lost productivity whereas in comparison, the revenue generated from tobacco taxation is only Rs115 billion.
Cigarette taxation in Pakistan is among the weakest in the world, and according to the World Health Organization, Pakistan should increase prices of cigarettes to at least Rupees 30 per packet to reduce consumption and health costs.
Program Manager, SPARC Khalil Ahmed urged the Prime Minister to intervene in this matter because this move can save 170,000 precious lives which are lost, each year, due to tobacco-related diseases.