ISLAMABAD: The sudden impact of the increase in the Federal Excise Duty (FED) and price of cigarettes under the Finance Supplementary Bill 2023 is evident from lesser sales of cigarette packs across the country.
Retail vendors and wholesale dealers in urban areas told Business Recorder that the low prices were also a major role in tobacco sales, and welcomed the government’s commitment to protecting its citizens from the dangers of smoking.
According to the merchants and wholesalers, the raise in the FED on cigarettes is a significant step towards reducing tobacco consumption and enhancing public health.
Retailers/ wholesalers stated that the move showed that low prices were also a major role in tobacco sales and welcomed the government’s commitment to protecting its citizens from the dangers of smoking.
“Though it is a business loss for me but this continues to campaign for tighter tobacco control regulations to further reduce smoking rates in Pakistan,” said Shafiq Ahmed, a seller in Islamabad.
On 14 February 2023, the government issued an SRO to increase FED. Under the notification, taxes on locally made cigarettes have been updated, and the FED has doubled the price of cigarettes (Rs16500/- per 1000 cigarettes if the initial price on the package exceeds Rs9000 per 1000 cigarettes).
Raising the price of cigarettes, according to social activists, is a tried-and-true method of reducing tobacco usage. Cigarettes are more expensive as a result of this technique, which may discourage people from smoking, particularly young people. Furthermore, the additional tax revenue may be used to fund smoking cessation programmes and anti-smoking advertisements.
The decision to hike cigarette pricing in Pakistan is an essential step towards promoting public health. The government’s initiative to raise taxes by about 150% is one of the largest in Pakistani history.
This measure will raise cigarette prices, making smoking less appealing to young people who are often lured to it because of its low cost.
Various civil society organizations have appreciated the government’s decision to increase taxes on cigarettes, terming it the most effective way to reduce tobacco consumption in the country.
According to their representatives, the approval of SRO by the government in this regard aimed to increase excise tax on cigarettes is a highly commendable move and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has taken a historic step to protect public health.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023