Tobacco Health Levy Bill is ready to be presented in parliament and its immediate implementation can generate 60 Billion Rupee revenue for government.
This revenue can help in reducing the damage caused by tobacco industry to health and economy.
These views were agreed upon during a briefing organized by Society for Protection of Rights of the Child (SPARC) to urge the government to impose of Health Levy on tobacco products to save Pakistani children and youth from the pandemic of tobacco.
shared alarming statistics that 1200 children beginning smoking daily and 170,000 people die due to tobacco induced diseases every year.
She mentioned that Ministry of Health is committed to support all pro-child moves such as healthy levy because they are important to ensure that the number of smokers in Pakistan, which is already at 31 Million, does not go beyond our control.
Economic consequences of tobacco consumption in Pakistan were shared by Dr. Ziauddin Islam – Country Lead – Vital Strategies; Former Technical Head/Director, Tobacco Control Cell, Ministry of NHSR&C; Former Technical focal Person of Govt. of Pakistan for WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
He mentioned that the economic cost of smoking in Pakistan is PKR 615.07 billion which is equal to 1.6% of Pakistan’s GDP but the revenue generated from the tobacco industry is only 20% of the total cost.
In 2019, Federal Cabinet approved a bill to impose Health Levy (Additional tax) on tobacco Products to decrease consumption and generate 60 Billion Pakistani Rupees per Year.
However influenced by the tobacco industry, many policy makers have continuously block the bill and hence tobacco products have become more affordable due to increase in per capital income.
Khalil Ahmed Dogar, Program Manager, SPARC, mentioned that children and low-income people are primary target of tobacco industry.
He suggested that immediate introduction of Health Levy Bill in Parliament is required so it can become an Act and can be implemented across the country.