LAHORE: Pakistan is one of the world’s highest tobacco consumption countries, with 24 million people actively using tobacco. This emerges from a report by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE).
The total cost of all smoking-related illnesses and deaths in Pakistan in 2019 is Rs 615.07 billion ($ 3.85 billion), and the indirect costs (morbidity and mortality) account for 70 percent of the total, Durre Nayab of the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics cited the study.
“Regular tobacco use is a major cause of heart disease, cancer and other deadly diseases. Smoking has become a social evil in our society and needs to be contained for the good of the children who are the future of the nation, ”she said.
“In Pakistan, more than 160,000 people die from tobacco-related diseases. Rising cigarette prices, the imposition of additional taxes on the product and strict legalization all have a deterrent effect.
The report found that more and more women were smoking, which is very alarming. A smoking mother puts the lives of her and her children at risk, ”the report said.
In Pakistan, around 1,200 children between the ages of 6 and 15 smoke every day, quoted Khalil Ahmed Dogar, program manager for the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC).
He pointed out that wherever the proportion of smokers has declined, governments have imposed high taxes on cigarettes.
He said the country’s current tax structure allows the tobacco industry to sell cheaper cigarettes.
He said that cigarette prices in Pakistan are among the lowest in the world.
The average consumption tax share of 45.4 percent of the retail price is well below the WHO recommendation that the consumption tax should be at least 70 percent of the retail price.
Currently, the effective rate of excise duty on cigarettes is still the same as it was 5 years ago because the federal excise tax has not changed.