Current Affairs

Civil Society demands ban on Novel Tobacco Products

Peshawar: The members of ‘Provincial Alliance on Sustainable Tobacco Control Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’, hails the decision of the Federal Government for increasing the tax on cigarettes.

The members, from first inclusive CSOs led Alliance established to lead, create, reinforce, and support effective multi-sectoral tobacco control interventions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, demanded the Provincial Government to raise taxes on tobacco products and put complete ban on smokeless and Novel tobacco products in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while speaking at a Press Conference, organized on Wednesday in Peshawar.

The speakers including Mian Atiq Ur Rehman, Usman Afridi, Ammara Iqbal, Sana Ahmad, and Zartasha Abid shared that Pakistan government has recently imposed an additional PKR 36 billion new tax on tobacco and cigarettes and PKR 2 billion tax on tobacco processing to get an additional Rs38 billion in taxes.

Following the change, the price of cigarettes of tier-1 brands is likely to go up by PKR 20 to PKR30 while for tire-2 brands, the price may go up by PKR 10 per packet, The same impact will be visible on tobacco processing, as the government has jacked up advanced Federal Excise Duty (FED) tax from PKR10 per kg to PKR390 per kg, which will be adjustable.

The speaker hailed the decision of Federal Government for raising taxes on tobacco, calling it effective policy decision for minimizing use of tobacco among young people, children, young adults, and persons of low socioeconomic status.

While addressing the press conference, Mian Atiq Ur Rehman member of the Alliance said that “according to Ministry of National Health Services, 2018), almost 23.9 million adults currently use tobacco in any form in the country. And tobacco is a cause of death of around 160,100 persons every year. Almost 31,000 of the deaths are due to exposure to secondhand smoke.”

Sana Ahmad, Program Coordinator Blue Veins Said “smokeless and Novel tobacco products are also becoming increasingly popular among youth in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These so-called ‘less’ harmful products pose an immense danger to public health and if the government does not ban these products, Pakistan’s health system will suffer unprecedented damage”

Emphasizing on policy level actions against smokeless and novel tobacco products, Ms. Ammara Iqbal Psychologist and Alliance’ member said, “The alternative products have been in Pakistani market for several years now but there has been no policy or legislation to control and monitor their sales, promotion and advertisement”.

Zartasha Abid, member of the Alliance for Sustainable Tobacco Control Said “ Novel tobacco products are equally harmful to human health because every year around 160,100 precious lives were lost in Pakistan due to tobacco-induced diseases such as cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and cardiovascular disease.”

“The tobacco industry is trying to find new ways to manipulate youth which is an existential threat to younger generations and must be addressed through policy measures”, said Usman Afridi youth rights activist and Alliance’ member.

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