CTC-Pak urges Govt. to deal tobacco industry with an iron hand
Islamabad: The partners of the Coalition for Tobacco Control-Pakistan (CTC-Pak) have called upon the government to ensure the effective implementation of the National Tobacco Control Policy and make tobacco control its top priority while addressing the tobacco industry’s interference in policy matters including taxation with an iron hand.
CTC-Pak further emphasized the need for Pakistan to adopt and implement the theme ‘Protect the Environment,’ as according to the World Health Organization (WHO), environmental impacts of tobacco farming include massive use of water, large-scale deforestation, and contamination of the air and water systems. Many countries that grow and/or produce tobacco are low- or middle-income countries and some of them face substantive food insecurity and even hunger.
“Pakistan can only address the tobacco epidemic by fully implementing FCTC and adopting MPOWER measures. This can be achieved by enforcing effective policies to reduce the demand for tobacco. The government should resist the interference of the tobacco industry in policy implementation, especially on issues related to taxation and public health warnings,” said Zeeshan Danish, National Coordinator of CTC-Pak.
Zeeshan said the harmful impact of the tobacco industry on the environment is vast and growing adding unnecessary pressure to our planet’s already scarce resources and fragile ecosystems. Tobacco kills over 8 million people every year and destroys our environment, further harming human health, through the cultivation, production, distribution, consumption, and post-consumer waste.
Increasing Taxes on Cigarettes, most cost-effective way of reducing tobacco consumption: Experts
Islamabad () The demand for tobacco is strongly influenced by its price. Taxation is the most cost-effective way of reducing tobacco consumption, especially among young people and those with low income.
Price increases encourage people to stop smoking, prevent others from starting smoking, and discourage ex-smokers from starting smoking again. When tobacco tax rates were increased by 250% in South Africa in the 1990s, cigarette consumption fell by 5-7% for every 10% increase in cigarette prices. Approximately 40% of the decline in consumption was due to quitting smoking.
Studies have shown that the effect of taxation is more pronounced in developing countries. A price rise of 10% decreases consumption by 4% in developed countries and by up to 8 % in developing countries. There is considerable scope to increase tobacco prices through taxation. In many countries, cigarette prices have not kept up with increases in the price of other goods and services.
Studies have also predicted that cigarette price increases of 33% would prevent 22-65 million smoking-related deaths worldwide or 5-15% of all such deaths. An increase of 70% would save 46-114 million smoking-related deaths of 10-26%. Most would be among young men in developing countries.
The tobacco industry’s argument that tobacco taxes are unfair for poor people ignores an important fact: on average, poor people are also more price-sensitive than rich people. They are therefore more likely to stop smoking or reduce consumption when faced with a tobacco tax increase.
Apart from the health benefits, there is evidence that, in the longer term, tobacco tax increases actually shift the tax burden from the poor to the rich. They thereby increase the income available for other types of spending.
Project Coordinator Coalition for Tobacco Control Pakistan CTC-Pak urges the government to increase taxes on tobacco at least by 30%. Taxes on tobacco in Pakistan is the lowest compared to the region. It will not only discourage new smokers but will also decrease the overall consumption of tobacco among all factions.