Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr. Zafar Mirza says the government has decided to impose health tax on tobacco to cut its rising consumption. Addressing a ceremony to mark World No Tobacco Day in Islamabad today, he said the revenue generated from the tax collection will be utilized on health related issues including health promotion as well as prevention and control of diseases.
The Special Assistant said that 1200 children from the age of six to fifteen years become victim of tobacco daily in the country, which is a dangerous trend. He said the usage of tobacco leads to several life threatening diseases including cardiovascular, lung cancer and diabetes. Dr Zafar Mirza said Pakistan is committed to stop illicit trade of tobacco.
According to a 2013 study by the University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for Health Research and Policy, over 22 million (19%) Pakistani adults over 18 years use some form of tobacco. The experts said that: “Cigarette prices in Pakistan are among the lowest in the world.” Cigarette excise taxes in Pakistan account for just over half of the price paid by users. “This is below the level in countries that have taken a comprehensive approach to reducing tobacco use, where excise taxes account for 70% or more of the retail price,” their report said.
The U.N. agency reports 3.3 million users will die from lung-related diseases. This number includes people exposed to second-hand smoke, among them more than 60,000 children under age five who die of lower respiratory infections due to passive smoking.
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