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PESHAWAR: Members of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have widely hailed the federal government for increasing tax on cigarettes and demanded the provincial government to impose a complete ban on Novel Tobacco Products.

The appreciation and demand came from the members of ‘Provincial Alliance on Sustainable Tobacco Control Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The members, from first inclusive CSOs led Alliance established to lead, create, reinforce, and support effective multi-sectoral tobacco control interventions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, demanded the Provincial Government to raise taxes on tobacco products and put complete ban on smokeless and Novel tobacco products in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while speaking at a Press Conference, organized here on Wednesday.

The speakers including Mian Atiq Ur Rehman, Usman Afridi, Ammara Iqbal, Sana Ahmad, and Zartasha Abid shared that Pakistan government has recently imposed an additional PKR 36 billion new tax on tobacco and cigarettes and PKR 2 billion tax on tobacco processing to get an additional Rs38 billion in taxes.

Following the change, the price of cigarettes of tier-1 brands is likely to go up by Rs20 to Rs30 while for tire-2 brands, the price may go up by Rs10 per packet, The same impact will be visible on tobacco processing, as the government has jacked up advanced Federal Excise Duty (FED) tax from Rs10 per kg to Rs390 per kg, which will be adjustable.

The speaker hailed the decision of the Federal Government for raising taxes on tobacco, calling it an effective policy decision for minimizing use of tobacco among young people, children, young adults, and persons of low socioeconomic status.

While addressing the press conference, Mian Atiq Ur Rehman member of the Alliance said, “According to the Ministry of National Health Services, 2018, almost 23.9 million adults currently use tobacco in any form in the country. And tobacco is a cause of death of around 160,100 persons every year. Almost 31,000 of the deaths are due to exposure to second hand smoke.”

Sana Ahmad, Programme Coordinator Blue Veins said, “Smokeless and Novel tobacco products are also becoming increasingly popular among youth in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These so-called ‘less’ harmful products pose an immense danger to public health and if the government does not ban these products, Pakistan’s health system will suffer unprecedented damage.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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