(CTN News) – The implementation of higher taxation and punitive Smoking measures was strongly recommended by the experts during the seminar titled “Tobacco Taxation – A Solution to Health and Poverty Challenges”.
The seminar, organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), focused on the health, economic, and social aspects related to Smoking cigarette use in the country.
The primary focus of the discussions revolved around the health aspect, specifically addressing the growing prevalence of diseases caused by smoking and their impact on the healthcare system.
The experts deliberated on the government’s taxation strategy for this sector and commended the World Bank’s proposal to increase the Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cigarettes.
According to the World Bank’s latest report titled ‘Pakistan Development Update,’ Pakistan generated 0.5 percent of its GDP through federal excise duty revenue in the fiscal year 2021-22.
The taxation of cigarettes played a significant role in this, contributing 0.19 percent of the GDP, which has remained relatively stable in recent years. It is estimated that a substantial increase in revenue, equivalent to 0.4 percent of the GDP, could be attained.
Dr. Wasim Iftikhar Janjua from SDPI expressed concern over the tobacco Smoking industry’s manipulation of information regarding tobacco products, aiming to boost their sales by deceiving young individuals.
Blanca Llorente, representing Fundacion Anaas in Colombia, joined the discussion through a video link and highlighted that Colombia pursued three distinct approaches between 2010 and 2023.
These approaches included government intervention, local research, and the persistent advocacy of civil society for a significant tax hike on tobacco items.
Asif Iqbal, the Executive Director of SPDC, stated that out of every 1000 individuals, 50 are Smoking tobacco consumers, and the global number of tobacco users exceeds 30 million. In Pakistan, the number of smokers is approximately 3 million.