Health activists for imposing levy on tobacco products

ISLAMABAD, Aug 18 (APP): Health activists on Thursday said that levy on tobacco products approved by Federal Cabinet in June 2019 should be imposed immediately to save precious lives.

Country head, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Malik Imran Ahmed and Program Manager SPARC Khalil Ahmed Dogar said this in a joint statement issued by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC).

Imran Ahmed said that in June 2019, the federal cabinet announced to impose additional health tax on tobacco products to save children and low-income groups by taking tobacco products out of their spending reach.

He said that the current excise tax on cigarettes lower than the inflation, hence we can say that cigarettes are more affordable than two years ago. Therefore, it is important to impose health levy immediately otherwise the number of smokers will go beyond our control.

Khalil Ahmed said that children and low-income people are primary target of tobacco industry and unfortunately, our tobacco control policies are making these groups more vulnerable, adding that despite the claims of tobacco industry, its products are the leading cause of deaths due to cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular disease.

He expressed concerns that 1200 children beginning smoking daily and 170,000 people dying due to tobacco induced diseases every year.

He said adequate measures should be adopted for tobacco control under strict implementation of tobacco control laws.