ISLAMABAD: The number of smokers among Pakistani youth has historically been increasing each year while globally it has been falling. The decision of increasing the tax on cigarettes will result in curbing smoking.
Dr Hassan Shehzad said this while talking to students of the Islamic International University of Islamabad.
He said in Pakistan, around 337,500 people die due to smoking each year while causing a burden of around Rs620 billion on the health sector. The government jacked up the Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cigarettes in February to discourage its use and boost its revenues, but the multinational tobacco companies have been lobbying to reverse it.
He said in Pakistan, multinational cigarette companies continue to spread propaganda by stating that increase in cigarette prices results in illegal cigarettes becoming available in the market.
The number of deaths from smoking was falling in rich countries but rising in low-to-middle income countries like Pakistan, he said.
He said around 1,200 children were taking up smoking in Pakistan daily which was pushing the share of smokers up unlike developed and many other developing countries.
Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2023
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