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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s performance in preventing the influence of tobacco manufacturing companies remained unsatisfactory, resulted in the deaths of above 160,000 tobacco consumers during one past year, a global study revealed.

An international watchdog on tobacco control, the Global Centre for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC) in its latest finding of 2023 has included Pakistan in an index where the tobacco industry strongly influences the government.

In this regard, GGTC has referred to the Global Industry Interference Index-2023.

According to the findings of the international watchdog, Pakistan’s performance in adopting measures to prevent the industry’s influence, ensuring transparency, and avoiding the conflict of interest with the multinational tobacco companies has remained unsatisfactory.

The GGTC said that 163,672 deaths in Pakistan occurred during 2021 primarily due to the use of products of these two top manufacturers of tobacco products.

It further stated that in Pakistan, tobacco companies are not prohibited from promoting themselves through so-called socially responsible activities and from promoting their products through sponsorships of events, activities, or individuals.

According to GGTC findings, tobacco taxes in Pakistan as a percentage of retail price is 61 percent while the global standard is 70 percent.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Technical Assistance Report titled ‘Pakistan Tax Policy Diagnostic and Reform Options’ released in February, on the consumption of cigarettes in Pakistan, has advised Pakistan to overhaul its tax system by increasing taxes on non-essential items like cigarettes and applying a uniform tax on cigarettes regardless of their national or multinational brand.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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