Coalition for Tobacco Control Pakistan Advocates for Increased Tobacco Taxation

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ISLAMABAD: The Coalition for Tobacco Control Pakistan (CTC-Pak), comprising over 100 organizations nationwide dedicated to tobacco control, welcomes the appointment of the new finance minister and encourages him to consider tobacco taxation as a strategic avenue for economic enhancement in its improved tax regime for real estate and retail sectors.

In line with public health objectives, CTC-Pak underscores the importance of raising taxes on cigarettes to curb tobacco consumption, thereby fostering improved health outcomes for the populace.

Moreover, CTC-Pak endorsed Dr. Nadeem Jan, former Federal Minister for National Health Services, call for a 50% increase in tobacco taxes to curb smoking, particularly among the youth, citing grave health hazards.

CTC-Pak supports health advocates prioritizing higher taxes on tobacco products for multiple reasons.

Firstly, raising tobacco taxes effectively reduces consumption, especially among vulnerable groups like youth and low-income individuals, promoting better public health outcomes.

Secondly, higher tobacco taxes alleviate significant economic burdens stemming from healthcare costs, lost productivity, and premature deaths, thus benefiting both public health and overall economic well-being.

Thirdly, implementing such taxes signals policymakers to address tobacco use as a critical public health and economic concern, fostering the adoption of comprehensive tobacco control measures.

The coalition appeals to the newly appointed Finance Minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, urging him to acknowledge the significant challenge posed by tobacco consumption in Pakistan. With an estimated 31.9 million adults engaging in tobacco use, constituting 19.7% of the adult population, the impact on public health and the economy is profound.

It further stresses the strain placed on healthcare resources to manage smoking-induced non-communicable diseases, emphasizing the urgent necessity for measures like increased tobacco taxation to alleviate economic burdens and safeguard public health.

Zeeshan Danish, Project Coordinator at CTC-Pak, underscores the affordability of tobacco as a key driver behind youth initiation into smoking, further emphasizing the economic toll associated with smoking-related illnesses and fatalities.

Communication Officer CTC-Pak, Ashfaq Ahmad asserts that as we navigate the challenges posed by tobacco use, collaboration between the government, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders is paramount. Together, we must work towards creating a tobacco-free environment that prioritizes public health and safeguards future generations from the perils of tobacco addiction.

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