Increasing tobacco taxes will not only discourage new smokers but also reduce overall tobacco consumption among all factions.
ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 27th Feb, 2023 ) :Increasing taxes on tobacco will not only discourage new smokers but also reduce overall tobacco consumption among all factions.
Project Coordinator, Pakistan Tobacco Control Coalition CTC-Pak Zeeshan Danish said that tobacco taxes in Pakistan are the lowest compared to the region and called for further increase in tobacco taxes.
He said that the National Tobacco Control Strategy (NTCS) should be implemented in letter and spirit that would strengthen the country’s tobacco control efforts.
Various civil society organizations, although they appreciate the government’s decision to increase taxes on cigarettes, called it the most effective way to reduce tobacco consumption.
According to their officials, the government’s approval of SRO in this regard to increase the excise duty on cigarettes is a very laudable move and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has taken a historic step to protect public health.
They said the move would further boost sustainable economic growth. However, they said there is still a lot of room for further increases in cigarette taxes, helping to reduce the availability of cigarettes, especially among young people.
The demand for tobacco is strongly influenced by its price. Taxation is the most cost-effective way to reduce tobacco consumption, especially among young people and those with low incomes.
Price increases encourage people to quit, prevent others from taking up smoking and discourage ex-smokers from taking up smoking again, they added.
Studies have shown that the effect of taxation is more pronounced in developing countries. A 10% price increase reduces consumption by four percent in developed countries and up to eight percent in developing countries.
There is considerable scope for raising tobacco prices through taxation because in many countries cigarette prices do not keep pace with price increases for other goods and services.
The studies also predicted that a 33% increase in the price of cigarettes would prevent 22–65 million smoking-related deaths worldwide, or 5–15% of all such deaths. A 70% increase would save 46-114 million smoking-related deaths, or 10-26% and most would be among young men in developing countries.
The tobacco industry’s argument that tobacco taxes are unfair to poor people ignores an important fact because, on average, poor people are also more price sensitive than rich people. They are therefore more likely to quit smoking or reduce consumption when faced with an increase in tobacco tax.
Beyond the health benefits, there is evidence that, in the long run, raising tobacco taxes actually shifts the tax burden from the poor to the rich. They thus increase the income available for other types of spending.