Civil society urges govt. not to distract from tobacco taxation
According to media reports, tobacco growers expressed their gratitude to the federal government for responding to the demands of tobacco growers and imposing a tax on cigarette packs instead of tobacco leaves. On the contrary, the concerns expressed by anti-tobacco advocates regarding the taxation of tobacco in Pakistan are legitimate and must be addressed by the government. Tobacco taxation is a proven method of reducing tobacco consumption, and it is essential that all forms of tobacco including e-liquids, and tobacco mixtures for HTPs are taxed in order to achieve the maximum benefits. The recent decision of the federal government to tax packed tobacco and leaves is a positive step, but it is important that the government does not favour any particular segment of the industry. The sustainability of tobacco taxation in Pakistan can only be achieved if taxes are sustained at each level, and if the government remains committed to achieving the World Health Organization's target of 70% tax on cigarettes.
The affordability of cigarettes is a major factor in tobacco consumption, particularly among vulnerable populations such as youth and low-income individuals. By increasing taxes on tobacco, the government can make cigarettes less affordable, thereby reducing consumption and improving public health. This, in turn, can lead to reduced healthcare costs and increased productivity, as smoking-related illnesses are a significant burden on the healthcare system and result in the least productivity due to illness and premature deaths.
Project Coordinator of Coalition for Tobacco Control CTC-Pak Zeeshan Danish further said while the recent increase in tobacco taxes in Pakistan is a step in the right direction, more needs to be done in order to achieve the WHO's target of 70% tax on cigarettes. The government must remain committed to this target and take further steps to increase taxes on tobacco in a sustainable manner. Moreover, the implementation of the National Tobacco Control Strategy (NTCS) in letter and spirit will ensure the sustainability of all indicators of NTCS, especially tobacco tax. This includes ensuring that taxes are sustained at each level and that no segment of the industry is favoured over others.
Increasing Taxes on Cigarettes, most cost-effective way of reducing tobacco consumption
Islamabad () Approval of S.R.O. 178(1)/2023 aimed to increase excise tax on cigarettes is a highly commendable move by the govt of Pakistan. Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has taken a historic step to protect public health. The move will further strengthen a sustainable economic growth. But there is great room available to increase further taxes on cigarettes, helping a great deal in reducing the affordability of cigarettes, especially among youth.
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 on low income. Price increases encourage people to stop smoking, prevent others from starting smoking, and discourage ex-smokers from starting smoking again.
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, or 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 further increase taxes on tobacco. Taxes on tobacco in Pakistan is lowest as compared to the region. It will not only discourage new smokers but will also decrease the overall consumption of tobacco among all factions. Moreover, National Tobacco Control Strategy (NTCS) must be implemented in letter and spirit which will strengthen tobacco control efforts in the country.
Quitting tobacco use is the most effective way to reduce the risk of cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.
Tobacco use is a leading cause of cancer and is responsible for multiple types of cancer including lung, throat, bladder, pancreas, and more. Tobacco contains harmful chemicals, including carcinogens, which increase the risk of cancer. The World Health Organization estimates that tobacco is responsible for around 22% of all cancer deaths worldwide. Quitting tobacco use is the most effective way to reduce the risk of cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.
Cancer is a significant public health issue in Pakistan, with an estimated 160,000 new cases and 110,000 deaths due to cancer reported annually. The most common types of cancer in Pakistan include lung, breast, stomach, throat, blood and liver cancer. The increasing prevalence of cancer in the country is attributed to several factors.
Collation for Tobacco Control Pakistan (CTC-Pak) project coordinator Zeeshan Danish said that On World Cancer Day, it is important to raise awareness about the devastating effects of tobacco use and the need for continued efforts to reduce its impact.
In addition, risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity are contributing to the rise in cancer cases in Pakistan. The country also faces a shortage of medical facilities, as well as limited access to modern diagnostic and treatment technologies, it is essential to implement effective cancer control strategies, including promoting healthy lifestyles, increasing access to early detection and treatment services, and important one the reduces tobacco use and implements tobacco control laws to prevent cancer hazards and its burden in Pakistan, he said.
The Coalition for Tobacco Control Pakistan (CTC-Pak) has urged the government to Approve and Implement National Tobacco Control Strategy (NTCS) to prevent Tobacco Hazards and Health Burden.
The high prevalence of tobacco use in Pakistan poses a substantial health and economic burden to Pakistani individuals, families, and society beside the legalization of Heated Tobacco Products (HTP’s) will strongly affect the increased diseases, health burden and miseries of society.Project Coordinator CTC- Pak Zeeshan Danish said that legalization of HTPs is disappointing and similar to push back the efforts of decades to safeguard the nation from losses by tobacco products. More than 1200 underage children’s start smoking every day in Pakistan, the number will be increased if the growing trend of novel tobacco is not stopped. Tobacco industry and its front groups’ falsely claiming that HTPs are harmless and alternative products, it is a misleading concept to grab the attention of youth to increase market share and earn profit. As per WHO recommendations, all forms of tobacco use are harmful, including HTPs are inherently toxic and contains carcinogens, beside the European Commission has announced a prohibition on flavored heated tobacco products from November 23, 2022, in its efforts to fight cancer, He further said that, this unpleasant move was taken at a time when many neighboring countries have strictly banned such products and the European Commission has announced a prohibition on flavored heated tobacco products from November 23, 2022, in its efforts to fight cancer. The CTC-Pak and other tobacco control organizations have urged upon the government to approve and implement the strategy without further delay. The CSOs asked the Tobacco Control Cell (TCC) of Ministry of Health to play its role for approval of the strategy and thwart the efforts to spread tobacco products in the country jeopardizing the public health.
Legalization of e-cigarettes in Pakistan is blatant violation of FCTC protocol and country’s tobacco control laws Civil society urges to approve tobacco control strategy without delayISLAMABAD: Delays in the approval of the National Tobacco Control Strategy (NTCS) has definitely paved the way for moves to facilitate tobacco industry as approval of SRO on Heated Tobacco Products. Coalition for Tobacco Control-Pakistan (CTC-Pak), a coalition of more than 100 CSos has expressed concern and utter disappointment on measures taken by the government to legalize Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs) particularly e-cigarettes in Pakistan which are against the protocols of FCTC and country’s tobacco control laws. It is ironic that the Ministry of health did not even consult with all stakeholders while legalizing heated tobacco products which are already banned in the region’s countries. Being the signatory of the FCTC, issuing SRO regarding e-cigarettes is blatant violation of international convention protocols for tobacco control.CTC-Pak project coordinator, Zeeshan Danish, in a statement has said that the Ministry of Health instead of focusing on the enforcement of tobacco control laws to safe public health, has been facilitating the tobacco industry by disregarding Article 5.2 of the FCTC. It is surprising that the ministry is trying to reverse the country’s efforts and achievements of two decades regarding tobacco control.WHO and international donors are providing support to the government to take measures for tobacco control in Pakistan. FCTC member countries are responsible for policy making for tobacco control. The health ministry has developed a National Tobacco Control Policy or Strategy which is waiting to be approved since long. The CTC-Pak and other tobacco control organizations have urged upon the government to approve and implement the strategy without further delay.The CSOs asked the Tobacco Control Cell (TCC) of Ministry of Health to play its role for approval of the strategy and thwart the efforts to spread tobacco products in the country jeopardizing the public health.
Civil society concerned over legalising e-cigarettes in PakistanISLAMABAD: Coalition for Tobacco Control-Pakistan (CTC-Pak) and other tobacco control organisations have expressed their concerns and utter disappointment on measures being taken by the government to legalise heated tobacco products particularly e-cigarettes in Pakistan which are against the protocols of FCTC. Being the signatory of the FCTC, issuing SRO regarding e-cigarettes would be violation international convention protocols for tobacco control.CTC-Pak project coordinator, Zeeshan Danish, in a statement has said that it is ironic that Ministry of Health instead of focusing on enforcement of tobacco control laws to safe public health, is facilitating tobacco industry by disregarding the Article 5.2 of the FCTC. Moreover, the Ministry did not even consult with the all stakeholders while taking measures to legalise heated tobacco products which are already banned in the region’s countries.It is surprising that the ministry is trying to reverse the country’s two decades efforts and achievements regarding tobacco control.Tobacco control advocates urged upon the ministry of health that instead of facilitating tobacco industry, it should focus on the approval of National Tobacco Control Strategy lying with ministry for the past many months. They also urged upon the Tobacco Control Cell of Ministry of Health to play its role and thwart the efforts to spread tobacco products in the country jeopardising the public health.
صحت عامہ کے مفاد کو مدنظر رکھتے ہوئے نیشنل ٹوبیکو کنٹرول پالیسی کو منظور کیا جائے ۔ پاکستان میں ای سگریٹ کو قانونی قرار دینا ایف سی ٹی سی پروٹوکول کی خلاف ورزی ہے۔اسلام آباد( ) نیشنل ٹوبیکو کنٹرول سٹریٹجی (NTCS) کی منظوری میں "تاخیر" نے ہیٹڈ ٹوبیکو مصنوعات جیسے ای سگریٹ اور ویپ کی منظوری کی راہ ہموار کی ہے ۔کولیشن فار ٹوبیکو کنٹرول پاکستان (سی ٹی سی پاک ) ، سو سے زائد سول سوسائٹی آرگنائزیشنز پر مشتمل اتحاد ہے سی ٹی سی پاک نے پاکستان میں ای سگریٹ (HTPs) کو قانونی حیثیت دینے کے لیے حکومت کی طرف سے کیے گئے اقدامات پر تشویش اور سراسر مایوسی کا اظہار کیا ہے ہیٹڈ ٹوبیکو پراڈکٹ کی منظوری فریم ورک کنونشن فار ٹوبیکو کنٹرول (ایف سی ٹی سی) کے پروٹوکول کے خلاف ہیں۔ یہ ستم ظریفی ہے کہ وزارت صحت نے ہیٹڈ ٹوبیکو کی مصنوعات کو قانونی قرار دیتے ہوئے اسٹیک ہولڈرز سے مشاورت تک نہیں کی ان مصنوعات پر خطے کے ممالک میں پہلے ہی پابندی ہے۔ ایف سی ٹی سی کے دستخط کنندہ ہونے کے ناطے، ای سگریٹ کے حوالے سے ایس آر او جاری کرنا تمباکو کنٹرول کے بین الاقوامی کنونشن پروٹوکول کی صریح خلاف ورزی ہے۔سی ٹی سی پاک کے پروجیکٹ کوآرڈینیٹر ذیشان دانش نے ایک بیان میں کہا ہے کہ وزارت صحت ، کو محفوظ بنانے کے لیے تمباکو کنٹرول قوانین کے نفاذ پر توجہ دینے کے بجائے ایف سی ٹی سی کے آرٹیکل 5.2 کو نظر انداز کر کے تمباکو کی صنعت کو سہولت فراہم کر دی ہے۔ وزارت صحت کا یہ عمل انسداد تمباکو کے حوالے سے ملک کی دو دہائیوں کی کوششوں اور کامیابیوں کو پلٹنے کے مترادف ہے۔ایف سی ٹی سی کا رکن ملک ہونے کے باعث ڈبلیو ایچ او اور بین الاقوامی ڈونرز حکومت کو پاکستان میں تمباکو پر قابو پانے کے لیے اقدامات کرنے میں مدد فراہم کر رہے ہیں تاکہ ایک مکمل اور جامع تمباکو کنٹرول کی پالیسی کو وضع کیا جا سکے اس ضمن میں وزارت صحت نے قومی تمباکو کنٹرول پالیسی یا حکمت عملی تیار کی ہے جو ایک عرصے سے منظور ہونے کا انتظار کر رہی ہے۔ سی ٹی سی پاک اور دیگر تمباکو کنٹرول تنظیمیں حکومت سے پر زور مطالبہ کرتی ہیں کہ بناء کسی تاخیر کے تمباکو کنٹرول کی حکمت عملی کی منظوری دے اور اس پر عمل درآمد کر ے اور وزارت صحت کے ٹوبیکو کنٹرول سیل (TCC) سے پر زور اپیل کرتے ہیں کہ وہ حکمت عملی کی منظوری کے لیے اپنا کردار ادا کریں اور ملک میں صحت عامہ کو خطرے میں ڈالنے والی تمباکو کی مصنوعات کو ملک میں پھیلانے کی کوششوں کو ناکام بنائیں۔
Pictures of launching of research studyLaunching of Research Study on The marketing and interference tactics of the tobacco industry and its front groups Islamabad ( ) Society for Alternative Media and Research (SAMAR) organized Launching of Research Study on “The marketing and interference tactics of the tobacco industry and its front groups”. Findings of a research show that Tobacco Industry misleads and attempts to portray its New Novel Products (NNPs) as harmless with no negative effects on public health through different means of communication. Moreover tobacco industry produces and disseminates misleading on research based information of its need to convince and attract youth to buy its products. The event was graced by renowned health experts and anti-tobacco advocated including Dr. Minhaj us Siraj, Professor, Health Services Academy, Research Journalist Yawar Abbas, Mr. Shahzad Alam Khan, National Professional Officer, WHO, Mr. Khuram Hashmi, Senior Technical Advisor, The Union, Sania Ali Khan Focal Person (STOP) A Global Tobacco Industry Watchdog, Mr. Mazhar Arif Executive Director SAMAR, Dr Saba Amjad COO, Heart File and representatives of civil society and media. Speakers urges that tobacco industry engages directly in lobbying and influencing policymaking to avoid facing negative market results and to continue promotional activities without any barrier, particularly with regards to novel products. Speakers show their concern that enforcement agencies can play effective role to control TI's marketing and promotional activities especially for non-combustible novel products. Communication officer explained that the purpose of the study is to understand exactly the tactics and activities of TI and its front groups, besides their marketing strategies to promote novel tobacco products (NNPs). Participation discussed further that Tobacco Control efforts could be accelerated in Pakistan and how Pakistan can achieve targets agreed in Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Participants pledged to accelerate efforts regarding FCTC's targets and tobacco control activities in Pakistan.