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Nadeem Jan Urges 50% Tax Hike On Smoking

Nadeem Jan Urges 50% Tax Hike On Smoking

Former Federal Minister for National Health Services, Dr. Nadeem Jan, has urged a substantial 50% increase in cigarette taxation to discourage smoking, particularly among the youth, given the serious health risks associated with it. Emphasizing the importance of higher taxes as a means to reduce cigarette accessibility and address tobacco-related health issues effectively, Dr. Jan highlighted the need for proactive measures in this regard.

Speaking at an anti-tobacco awareness session organized by the Center for Research and Dialogue and IBC, Dr. Jan scrutinized the cigarette industry’s assertions regarding the potential surge in illicit trade due to higher taxes, dismissing them as misleading tactics aimed at influencing the government to lower taxes on tobacco products. He underscored the negative impact of such misinformation on state revenues and public health, stressing the importance of resisting industry pressures and implementing policies to curtail smoking rates in Pakistan.

Read more: Finance Minister Urged to Tax Tobacco for Economic Boost

Dr. Jan advocated for the adoption of a single-tier taxation system to replace the current multi-tier structure, which he attributed to industry influence. He highlighted the adverse consequences of the introduction of a third-tier system in 2017, which resulted in significant government revenue losses and prompted investigations by entities like the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Senate.

Furthermore, Dr. Jan reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and called for a unified pricing system to streamline regulation and discourage tobacco consumption. Malik Imran, Country Head of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also addressed the session, emphasizing the economic toll of tobacco use on the country, estimated at an annual loss of Rs615 billion.

Both speakers underscored the necessity of stringent regulation and public awareness campaigns to counter the tobacco industry’s deceptive tactics and propaganda, including on social media platforms. They advocated for a significant tax hike on tobacco products, aligning with findings from the World Bank.