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ISLAMABAD: Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) has appreciated the government for raising Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cigarettes despite the pressure from big tobacco industry as raise of 10 percent will help in saving precious lives and financial resources.

Dr Ziauddin Islam - Country Lead - Vital Strategies/ former technical head/director, Tobacco Control Cell, Ministry of NHSR&C/ former technical focal person of Government of Pakistan for WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) - stated that with this increase in tobacco taxation, there will be 200,000 fewer smokers; 1.2 percent reduction in smoking prevalence among adults; 1.23 percent reduction in smoking intensity among adults; 71,900 lives saved; and Rs 27.4 billion in additional total FED revenue—an increase of at least 25.1 percent.

While acknowledging the government’s effort he mentioned that, these results were achieved after an incredible and constant struggle. He recommended that prices of tobacco products be increase every year in accordance to the inflation and WHO guidelines.

Malik Imran, Country Head for Campaign for Tobacco Free-Kids (CTFK), appreciated the government and mentioned that millions of people will benefit from this initiative. He pointed that children and low-income people are primary target of tobacco industry. Due to cheap and easily affordability, 1200 children begin smoking daily. Therefore, these revised tier prices are an innovative way to safeguard youth and low-income groups from harms of tobacco.

Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Program Manager SPARC, highlighted the importance of this endeavour. He said every year tobacco industry tries to manipulate policymakers in order to fill its coffers at expense of lives of more than 170,000 people who die due to diseases caused and aggravated by usage of tobacco products. Tobacco control activists are working tirelessly to aid the government in standing firmly against the deceptive campaigns by the tobacco industry.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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