SPARC for Tobacco Health Tax Legislation

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News – November 16, 2022): The Society for the Protection of Children’s Rights (SPARC) on Wednesday recommended bringing to Parliament a Tobacco Health Tax Bill that could help to generate 60 billion rupees of revenue for the government and would reduce the damage caused by the tobacco industry to health and the economy.

These views were agreed at a briefing organized by SPARC to urge the government to impose a health tax on tobacco products to save Pakistani children and youth from the tobacco pandemic.

Dr Shazia Sobia Aslam Soomro, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Regulation and Coordination of National Health Services, shared alarming statistics that 1,200 children start smoking every day and 170,000 people die every year from diseases induced by tobacco.

She mentioned that the Ministry of Health is committed to supporting all initiatives for children, such as the health tax, as these are important in ensuring that the number of smokers in Pakistan, which is already rising at 31 million, is not beyond our control.

The economic consequences of tobacco use in Pakistan were shared by Dr. Ziauddin islam – Country Lead – Vital Strategies; former Head/Technical Director, Tobacco Control Cell, Ministry of NHSR&C; Former Government Technical Focal Point.

of Pakistan for the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

He mentioned that the economic cost of smoking in Pakistan is 615.07 billion rupees, which is equivalent to 1.6% of Pakistan’s GDP, but the revenue generated by the tobacco industry is only 20% of the cost. total.

Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Program Manager, SPARC, mentioned that children and low-income people are the main target of the tobacco industry. He suggested that the immediate introduction of the Health Tax Bill in Parliament is needed so that it can become law and can be implemented across the country. In addition, prices for tobacco products need to be increased to keep pace with inflation and rising per capita income. Above all, strict oversight of the tobacco industry is necessary to ensure compliance with the laws.

Shariq Mahmood Khan, CEO of Chromatic Trust, said that Pakistan is one of the worst ranked countries in the world in terms of tobacco taxation and since tobacco products cause us financial losses, it is the industry that should pay for the imbalance it has created. . Imposing a health tax and spending the increased revenue generated on public health programs is the most needed sustainable solution to reducing tobacco use and improving our public health infrastructure.

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